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Actors and Mythology

In El Crimen del Padre Amaro, Gael Garcia Bernal demonstrates his artistic integrity

By CaraLuna
Published on LatinoLA: November 26, 2002


Actors and Mythology


In the Mexican film "El Crimen del Padre Amaro," Father Amaro represents the debilities of human beings, while actor Gael Garcia Bernal represents human courage.

In this film Amaro is a malleable young priest living in a small provincial town. Upon his arrival to the town he meets and begins a romance with Aurelia, a repressed young woman devoted to the church. Contrary to the character he plays in the film, Garcia Bernal, takes a strong stand and dares to publicize some very real problems embedded in the church.

The film deals with the influence and constraints of religion on the lives of individuals, including that of clergyman.

According to philosopher and mythology expert Joseph Campbell, modern day actors (particularly movie stars) are mythological beings, with "a condition of god." This is to say, "When a person becomes a model for other people's lives, he moves into the sphere of being mythologized" (The Power of Myth,p.20).

In a sense, actors have the responsibility and obligation to educate and to guide society on worldly issues. So when an actor dares to personify an offensive character he is also portraying the martyr for the "Big Picture," literally and figuratively.

In this particular film, Garcia Bernal demonstrates his artistic integrity by bravely taking on the controversial role of Father Amaro. It is very likely that Garcia Bernal could have opted not to embark on such sensitive subjects as celibacy, conspiracy, and bribery in the church, but he does so for the "Big Picture" -- humanity. He basically dares to say things that people do not want to hear, but that must be addressed in order to be corrected.

A good friend once told me that a sign of a good writer is being able to make people think, and to stir emotions in them. I believe that being able to accomplish that task is sign that you are a good whatever, be it a writer, an actor, or a clergyman.

That is what the great ones do: Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Gael Garcia Bernal, definitely accomplishes this in the film "El Crimen del Padre Amaro".

See it and judge for yourself.

P.S. Gael, no te me achicopales.

About CaraLuna:
CaraLuna is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.




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