The Crime of Padre Amaro

( 8 )

Overview

A priest discovers the path of virtue can be steep, and temptation can demand a heavy price, in this controversial drama from Mexico. Father Amaro Gael Garcia Bernal is a young Catholic priest whose mentor, the Bishop Ernesto Gomez Cruz, expects great things from him. However, like all priests, Amaro must first be assigned where he is needed most, which leads him to the small rural community of Los Reyes, where Amaro is to assist Father Benito Sancho Gracia. To his shock, Amaro discovers Benito is hardly ...
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Overview

A priest discovers the path of virtue can be steep, and temptation can demand a heavy price, in this controversial drama from Mexico. Father Amaro Gael Garcia Bernal is a young Catholic priest whose mentor, the Bishop Ernesto Gomez Cruz, expects great things from him. However, like all priests, Amaro must first be assigned where he is needed most, which leads him to the small rural community of Los Reyes, where Amaro is to assist Father Benito Sancho Gracia. To his shock, Amaro discovers Benito is hardly following Holy Law -- he's having an affair with Sanjuanera Angelica Aragon, a woman who runs a local restaurant, and he's been helping a drug dealer launder his profits in exchange for large donations to the church, which Benito feels is justified as the funds are being used to build a hospital and orphanage for the poor. Amaro is disgusted with Benito's actions, but he soon discovers his own weaknesses when he falls in love with Amelia Ana Claudia Talancon, Sanjuanera's teenage daughter. As Amelia finds herself falling for Amaro, she breaks off her relationship with Ruben Andres Montiel, a reporter. Ruben responds by publishing a story which reveals the details of Benito's dealings with the drug dealers; Benito in turn tries to lay the blame at the feet of noble Father Natalio Damian Alcazar, whose work with local peasants has been wrongly interpreted as supporting armed revolutionary factions. As Amaro tries desperately to distance himself from the growing scandal, he receives shocking news from Amelia when he learns she's pregnant with his child. The Crime of Father Amaro's portrayal of corruption within the Catholic Church led to an outcry from Catholic organizations, both in Mexico and the United States, where they attempted to organize a boycott of the film. However, the tactic failed in Mexico, where the controversy helped to boost ticket sales, making it the highest-grossing Mexican film ever in its native country.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sobel
This engrossing addition to the recent spate of impressive Mexican films mixes classic human drama with contemporary social commentary. Based on a 19th-century Portuguese novel, El Crimen de Padre Amaro explores the conflicts between love and faith, spirituality and carnality, commitment and opportunism. Amaro Y Tu Mamá También's Gael García Bernal, the newly minted young priest and protégé of the venal local bishop, is sent to assist the veteran parish priest in the village of Los Reyes, where he becomes something of an unwitting heartthrob. As he grows more involved in the lives of the local priests and parishioners, his naiveté slowly dissolves, and his faith is ultimately tested by his passion for a local teenager, the beautiful Amelia Ana Claudia Talancón. Not surprisingly, given the environment, Amelia becomes a more than willing partner, with profound and tragic consequences. Director Carlos Carrera has a lot to say about the routine compromises -- and occasional outright corruption -- of the Catholic Church, which remains an entrenched and important part of Mexican culture. The glimpses of contemporary Mexico reveal a vibrant and multilayered culture, encompassing drug lords, an all-too-human clergy, a striving peasantry, and an engaged intelligentsia. Although he occasionally allows the sudsy melodrama to overwhelm the more thought-provoking elements of his film, Carrera nonetheless keeps the viewer engaged on both an emotional and intellectual level, thanks in part to some terrific performances, not only from his two smoldering leads, but also from a strong supporting cast of established Latin stars. Not surprisingly, El Crimen de Padre Amaro became a sensation, and the most popular film ever, in Mexico. The DVD's special features include a charming running commentary by the director and Bernal.
All Movie Guide - Todd Kristel
Vicente Leñero adapted his screenplay from a 19th-century novel by Portuguese author José María Eça de Queiróz, but his updated version of this story of morally compromised priests seems very contemporary. Unfortunately, it does not seem very subtle. Granted, the filmmakers have avoided some potentially lurid topics that could be dragged into this type of story. Also, they have made some effort to show that the film's protagonist, Father Amaro (Gael García Bernal), has both good and bad traits. Nonetheless, the film is so ham-fisted and melodramatic that it seems less a tragic tale of human fallibility than a sordid potboiler about corruption in the Catholic Church. The film doesn't establish whether Father Amaro is a flawed man torn between his idealism, pragmatism, and base desires or simply a cynical opportunist who neither cares nor thinks deeply about the moral issues he confronts; the relative lack of internal struggle and soul searching makes both the character and his story arc less interesting than they could have been. Bernal is compelling in some scenes but almost devoid of expression in many others. The rest of the cast fares somewhat better; for example, Damián Alcázar is compelling as Father Natalio, perhaps the most sympathetic character in the film, while Angelica Aragon gives a strong performance as Father Benito's lover Sanjuanera. The story is still pungent enough that it has some emotional impact despite the heavy-handed and simplistic approach, but this could have been a much more complex and moving film.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

The film is directed in a straightforward way by Carlos Carrera, who makes it direct and heartfelt, like a soap opera.
New York Post
Commendably, Carrera steers clear of preachiness in his exploration of a timely and relevant issue, and Bernal's transformation from naive priest to tortured adulterer to hard-nosed careerist is riveting. Megan Turner


The film is directed in a straightforward way by Carlos Carrera, who makes it direct and heartfelt, like a soap opera.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/2/2003
  • UPC: 043396004641
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gael García Bernal Padre Amaro
Sancho Gracia Father Benito
Ana Claudia Talancón Amelia
Damián Alcázar Father Natalio
Angélica Aragón La Sanjuanera
Ernesto Gómez Cruz Bishop
Luisa Huertas Dionisia
Pedro Armendariz Jr. Presidente Municipal
Gaston Melo Martin
Veronica Langer Amparito
Jorge Zárate Father Mauro
Andres Montiel Ruben
Roger Nevares Father Galvan
Technical Credits
Carlos Carrera Director
Nerio Barberis Sound/Sound Designer
Sandra Leon Becker Casting
Carmen Gimenez Cacho Production Designer
Maria Estela Fernandez Costumes/Costume Designer
Oscar Fuigueroa Editor
Guillermo Granillo Cinematographer
Laura Imperiale Executive Producer
Vicente Leñero Screenwriter
Miguel Lima Asst. Director
Jose Maria Morales Co-producer
Arturo Ripstein Producer
Alfredo Ripstein Jr. Producer
Daniel Birman Ripstein Producer
Rosino Serrano Score Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Gael Garcia Bernal

    Excellent movie! Gael Garcia Bernal is fantastic in this movie! Very contraversial!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Mexico's Golden Age in Movies has Begun!

    ''El Crimen del Padre Amaro'' is truly the gem of current Mexican cinema. However, it began with the movie ''Sexo, Pudor, y Lagrimas'' (1999) then followed by ''Amores Perros'', and ''Y Tu Mama Tambien.'' Be sure to see many more movies coming from Mexico that will leave you amazed. Its a shame that Mexico didn't win the Academy Award for ''Best Foreign Film''back in March. Not to worry there's still more to come!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excelent Foreign Movie!!!!!!!!!

    I really recommened this movie to everyone!! the setting and the plot is excelent and will keep you at the edge of your seat. TWO THUMBS UP!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This One You can't Miss!!!

    A great movie overall, you have to see it, I can't tell you how good it is!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    ''A powerful and unapologetic depiction of the abuses of the Catholic friars''

    El Crimen del Padre Amaro, i believe, is a very good movie to watch. It is a well crafted film in every aspect. The film's story unfolded smoothly. The subplots were interwoven in a manner that each of them contributed to the development of the characters and the story as a whole. The scenes provided perfect examples of how visuals can be cunningly used to convey socially-relevant messages. On the whole, the movie is a rare piece of art.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    You can see it in english too

    Two Latin actors, Natasha Perez and Carlos W. Jimenez, were selected to dub the starring roles of this controversial Mexican film. The dubbing of ''El Crimen del Padre Amaro'' was carried out at Media Concept studios, North Hollywood, using Protools software. This non-linear technique is not too commonly used in the Spanish dubbing industry. Carlos Jimenez dubs Gael García Bernal (Padre Amaro). He has been dubbing from English to Spanish for fourteen years. According to Jimenez ''switching was the most difficult part. When I record from other languages to Spanish it comes out natural but now I had to do the opposite. And although Gael is an excellent actor, he speaks very fast. Adaptation, that was the most difficult thing to do'' El Crimen del Padre Amaro (The Crime of Father Amaro) is one of the privileged six feature films that have been nominated at the Foreign Language category of the 75th Oscar awards. After it's nomination at the Golden Globe Awards¿ Foreign Language category, nobody should be surprised at Sony Pictures¿ initiative of launching a DVD that includes a version dubbed in English. Perez says she was really lucky. ''Although I don¿t have as much dubbing experience as him, I¿ve been performing in English for quite some time. Carlos and I didn¿t get to be in the recording booth together, but his professionalism and human quality helped a lot. He had access to the material and he shared it with me. We were both able to rehearse before recording, allowing us to deliver a top-quality work''. Perez thinks it would be a step forward to see computers and rehearsals becoming the standard in the Spanish dubbing industry ''you are able to give a good performance, you get precise synchronization, and the audience gets to hear the remainder of the original soundtrack ¿intact- because basically, the only sounds removed are the voices in Spanish''.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews