For the very first time in many years, maybe ever, and not without controversy, a movie about a historic event in Mexico has been filmed in English. With an international cast starring Andy Garcia, Peter O’Toole, and Eva Longoria, For Greater Glory was directed by Dean Wright (Lord of the Rings) and produced by Pablo Jose Barroso. According to several interviews, it was decided to make the film in English because English is considered the universal movie language; “For the same reason why Schindler’s List was not made in German” said Andy Garcia during an interview.
The film is about a time in Mexico (1926-1928) when Mexican Catholics fought for their religious freedom and the right to practice their faith. Known in Mexico as the Cristero war, this unfortunate episode of Mexico’s history began when President Plutarco Elias Calles ordered all catholic bishops and priests to be deported from Mexico. At the same time, all foreign ministers were also asked to leave the country. Religion was not to be practiced at all, and those who defied this law were to be executed.
Today, 83.9% of Mexicans are Catholics, and some movie critics have written against this film and dismissed it as religious propaganda, while others welcome the story line hoping it mitigates the ruthless violence the country is facing. Regardless of any criticism, 270,000 people watched the film during the opening weekend (in Mexico)of April 20, 2012, grossing about 1.10 million dollars at the box office. The film will open on June 1st in the United States
The movie was filmed in the area of “El Cerro del Cubilete”; a hill in the heart of Mexico’s territory where Pope Benedict 16threcently officiated a mass attended by over half a million people. It is in this region of the State of Guanajuato, where many priests and laymen of all ages lost their lives. Many were tortured and executed; of those defending religious freedom, it is said they all shouted “Viva Cristo Rey!” before their execution. Amazingly, today there are still several countries around the world whose laws prohibit its people from religious worship, while other countries debate the role of religion within government.
So, you might ask, what does this have to do with La Vida Valle? For the first time ever, a chapter of Mexico’s devotion-rich history will be watched by thousands of people. To me, this is a great opportunity to share the history of Mexico with the people of the Rio Grande Valley. The challenges its people have overcome, their faith, and the sacrifice that has been endured.
Appreciating the history of other countries opens the door to much needed amiable discourse. Furthermore, when it comes to pride and ethnic identity, a story as powerful as this one will certainly oblige a second look. And let us not forget the film stars Eva Longoria; a native of neighboring Corpus Christi, Texas.
Some writers attest Mexico is an extremely faithful country; strong faith in Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. Some go as far as saying that this is the reason why the forces of evil constantly torment its people.
UPDATE: 6/2/2012 – After reading some, not so good reviews, I watched the movie yesterday and I really liked it. I am not a film critic, but I was paying attention to what the critics had said. One said the movie was too violent, I do not think it was, just the violence that was needed to depict a story about war. Others did not like the dialogue, I thought it was fine, it could have been improved, but I don’t think people want to be overwhelmed with dialogue, and too much would be needed to tell this story. I loved the cinematography, the costumes, the actors. One thing is very true, it is a very sad movie, bring your tissues, because even the men at the theater were crying; it is a “manly” movie, a great story and a great message.
The most shocking thing that has happened since writing the first article is that I found out that General Gorostieta’s real life granddaughter is my sister’s sister in law! How unbelievable is that? She told me great things about her grandfather and about certain differences from his life and this movie, which I hope I can write about soon.
What do you think?
Enjoy the movie trailer http://www.movieinsider.com/m9908/5/for-greater-glory/8249/