Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Agony and Apostasy

I've been in a comedy mood for a while, so The Crime of Padre Amaro waited on top of my DVD player for quite a while before I watched it.

The main plot is pretty predictable: young, hot, newly-ordained priest who thinks the clergy should not be forced to be celibate arrives in town, where the catechism teacher is young, hot, barely legal, and very devout. The obvious ensues.

It touched on pretty much every possible controversial issue facing Catholicism: celibacy of priests, liberation theology, the church's role in corrupt local politics, abortion....

The film also ended really abruptly. I guess I was expecting it to be a morality tale, and it wasn't per se. It just laid out a series of ironies and tragedies. The priests debate and argue a lot amongst themselves, behind cloistered walls, but nonetheless present the facade of unity when out in the community. Men tell women what to do half the time; and the old crazy Cassandra-esque woman who holds on to old practices is the one that sees everything as it really is, though no one listens.

But the other characters are what makes the movie interesting, like any collection of odd townspeople. When not viewed as a fairly hazy exposé of the Catholic Church but as a portrait of a small town with a lot of drama, the movie works a lot better.

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