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El Crimen del Padre Amaro

...lead us not into temptation.... 

Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Go on, admit it. When you see the title The Crime of Father Amaro, you automatically assume it's a film about a priest interfering with young boys, don't you? Not carjacking, arson, or even trafficking. We first see the recently ordained Father Amaro (Bernal) as he rides a filthy bus to his first priestly assignment in the tiny Mexican town of Los Reyes. It is immediately established that the 24-year-old is a good guy when, after the bus is hijacked and robbed, Amaro gives all of his remaining pesos to a seatmate, who had previously been talking about a lifelong dream of starting his own business. However, even the most jaded man of the cloth would be shocked upon arrival in Los Reyes.

Amaro's retiring boss, Father Benito (Gracia), is not only helping drug dealers launder money in exchange for a healthy collection plate, he's also sleeping with a local restaurateur named Augustina (Angélica Aragón) and trying to blackmail another area padre (Alcázar) for aiding guerilla fighters in their war against the blessing, mind you). Not to be outdone, Amaro quickly develops feelings for Augustina's 16-year-old daughter Amelia (Talancón), who fantasizes about Jesus when she fingers herself in her bedroom. Oh, and Amelia might be Benito's daughter, too.

While it's debatable whether or not the Church is portrayed in a negative light, Crime in no way suggests that any or all of its priests are inherently evil - only human. I think people might be getting worked up over seeing some of the other potentially blasphemous images in Crime, like the crazy old lady feeding her cat the body of Christ, or the mentally retarded girl who carefully listens to the grunts and groans of Amaro and Amelia defrocking each other in the next room.

This film is another chance to catch Bernal, whose first couple of films (Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También) turned out to be two of Mexico's biggest hits ever, while his third (Crime) finds him in his second Oscar-nominated feature.

Yes, some of the material might be shocking to the more religiously inclined, but we show this film so you can make up your own minds about it, and because it has a great story to tell.

Percival Tucker

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)