Sunday, January 13, 2013

For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada

For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada is a brilliant extraordinary 2012 drama and epic historic movie of Mexico. It chronicles the Cristeros War (1926 to 1929) a war of the Mexican people against the atheist Mexican government. Priests took up arms as their people were killed and hung from telegraph poles. Nuns carried ammunitions to the rebels in their skirts on trains. No church bells rang in Mexico. Rome refused to condemn the tens of thousands of Catholics who fought the federales. The flag of the Cristeros proclaimed Long Live Christ the King and our Lady of Guadalupe. President Calles (played by a convincing Ruben Blades) begins a systematic viciously violent crackdown on the catholic faithful denying freedom of religion. Father Christopher, a kindly elder priest played impeccably by Peter O Toole (of Lawrence of Arabia fame) is ruthlessly murdered in his church by soldiers for the sole crime of being there. The rebel leader retired General Enrique Gorostieta is played with great depth and sensitivity by Andy Garcia. He is an agnostic whose faith journey parallels the war. A thirteen year old boy Jose, played by Mauricio Kuri is the embodiment of truth and heroism as he joins the rebels only to be captured and denied by his father. Father Vega, the handsome priest turned dashing and deadly soldier, but always a priest, is played by the incredible Santiago Cabrera. The beautiful Eva Longoria plays the faithful inspiration Tulita Gorostieta. Rebel farmer warrior "El Catorce" is played by the adept Oscar Isaac. Dean Wright's directing of this masterpiece written by Michael Love is amazing. The movie has all the violence and charm and cinematography of a Hollywood blockbuster but the cerebral heart of the best of European film. No individual is a cartoon character, all are human and real. The talk over a chess game is as revealing as men in battle facing gatling guns, as bodies are ripped apart by bullets. The horses are spectacular and the horsemanship even more so. Trains exploding, women protecting children, men and women martyred for their belief in God and love of freedom. The Mexican people and their history is rich in passion and spirituality. I was blessed to pray in the church for "our Lady of Guadaloupe" as I've prayed with so many Mexicans in so many churches. Long Live Christ the King. I never knew how much blood was lost by Mexicans so they could participate in mass. The Knights of Columbus, the prayerful Catholic Men's organization with the help of the American ambassador were instrumental in helping end the war. President Calles, himself once a revolutionary, in the end is a politician capable of compromise with his own views of freedom for Mexico. I would recommend this movie to everyone. There's good chance too it will have it's share of Oscar nominations.

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