Lead Us Not Into Temptation
- Released: May 29 2003
- Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Sancho Gracia, Ana Claudia Talancon, Angelica Aragon.
- Director: Carlos Carrera
- Genre: Drama
- Rating: MA 15+ (Adult Themes, Medium Level Sex Scene).
- Running Time: 118 Minutes
- Awards: Academy Award Nominee 2003 - Best Foreign Language Film
Golden Globe Nomination 2003 - Best Foreign Language Film
Amaro, a young man, anxious to change the world, becomes a priest thanks to his vocation and his friendship with the Bishop, who sends him for training to the church of the town of Los Reyes, Aldama, under the supervision of Father Benito, in order to send him later to Rome for further studies.
In Los Reyes he meets the devout, innocent and sensuous Amelia, daughter of Sanjuanera (owner of the town's small restaurant and object of Father Benito's affections) with whom he slowly falls in love, cursing the fate that condemns him to celibacy.My Verdict:
At the beginning of this movie we are told that this story is based on a book written in 1875. It has been adapted and updated to modern Mexico and has since gone on to become the most successful Spanish language film in Mexico's history. How much adaptation had to be made is not clear.
The setting is not in an affluent area of Mexico, rather an area of peasants. This is probably why Father Amaro is sent there - to cut his teeth on an area where he is unlikely to get into trouble. Nothing could be further than the truth as he learns very soon after his arrival. Corruption and sinning in various forms seem to be quite normal for the inhabitants of Los Reyes.
Gael Garcia Bernal plays an innocent and naive Father Amaro and seems to always wear a frown. It is not often that we see him smile which makes you wonder if he has really found his vocation. He seems to be in a permanent mode of contemplation. Perhaps it is just that this is his first appointment as a priest and it is his anxiety that is overwhelming him.
Sancho Gracia as Father Benito is a brooding, aging priest who is desperately trying to convince himself that he is no sinner. He also comes across as a man torn by his vocation and his sins. He knows he is slowly being shunted from his position because of his age and tries to overcome that by being domineering towards Father Amaro.
Ana Claudia Talancon, as Amelia, has just enough youth on her side to make us believe she is only 16. Her devotion to the church is seen as admirable by many in the town, however, the fall into temptation by Father Amaro and Amelia did happen very quickly. Just how fast Father Amaro fell is one aspect that could have been explored further. He does, however, admit that he was forced into a vow of celibacy when questioned by Father Benito after he has discovered Father Amaro's indiscretion.
This is a film that has been surrounded by controversy because it has dared to show the Catholic Church as not always practising as they preach. The Mexican Catholic Church tried to have the film banned and with good cause - they really do come off second best. It is a film that will make you think and wonder just how close to the truth this film really is.
- Christina Bruce