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THE CRIME OF FATHER AMARO
aka EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO
USA: Samuel Goldwyn Films
UK: Columbia Tristar Films (UK)
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Ana Claudia Talancón, Sancho Gracia, Angelica Aragón, Luisa Huertas, Ernesto Gómez Cruz, Gastón Melo, Damian Alcazar, Andres Montiel, Gerardo Moscoso, Verónica Langer, Pedro Armendariz Jr, Lorenzo de Rodas, Roger Nevares, Fernando Becerril, Jorge Zarate, Rosa Maria Castillo, Blanca Loaria, Juan Ignacio Aranda, Martin Zapata, Dagoberto Gama, Jorge Castillo, Mario Figueroa, Enrique Vasquez, Cristo Yanez, Marina Vera, Leticia Valenzuela, Raśl Azkenazi, Carmen Gimenez Cacho, Roberto Linares, Martha Posternak
Director: Carlos Carrera
Countries: Mexico / Spain / Argentina / France
Language: Spanish (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 120 mins
USA: Rated: R for sexuality, language and some disturbing images
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language, moderate violence and sex, and bloody images
USA Release Date: 15 November 2002 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 20 June 2003
Recently ordained a priest, 24 year-old Father Amaro (Gael Garcia Bernal) is sent to a small parish church in Los Reyes, Mexico to assist the aging Father Benito (Sancho Gracia). Benito, for years a fixture in the church as well as the community, welcomes Amaro into a new life of unseen challenges. Upon arriving in Los Reyes, the ambitious Father Amaro meets Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancón) a beautiful 16 year-old girl whose religious devotion soon becomes helplessly entangled in a growing attraction to the new priest. Amelia is quickly following in the footsteps of her mother, Sanjuanera, who has been engaged in a long-time affair with Father Benito.
Amaro soon discovers that corruption and the Church are old acquaintances in Los Reyes. Father Benito has been receiving financial help from the region's drug lord in the construction of a new health clinic, while Father Natalio (Damian Alcazar), another priest in the diocese, is suspected of assisting guerilla troops in the highlands. These transgressions are exposed in a newspaper article penned by Amelia's jealous ex-suitor, now a journalist for a respected newspaper, and scandal hits the town. The diocese, using its considerable political sway, strong-arms the newspaper into publishing a complete retraction.
Meanwhile, Amelia and Father Amaro have fallen in love and have begun a passionate sexual relationship. Amelia asks him to leave the priesthood to marry her, but Los Reyes has opened Amaro's eyes to the power the Church can offer an ambitious young priest. As things become increasingly more complicated in the small community, the walls around Father Amaro begin to crumble. Torn between the divine and the carnal, the righteous and the unjust, Father Amaro must summon the strength to choose which life he will lead.