Crimen del padre Amaro, El [2002]

This controversial film follows a handsome young priest, Padre Amaro (played by Gael Garcia Bernal from Y Tu Mamá También and Amores Perros), who arrives in a small town and finds himself surrounded by hypocrisy and corruption--and also finds himself tempted by a beautiful young woman who confesses that when she "touches herself," she thinks of Jesus. What makes El Crimen del Padre Amaro (The Crime of Father Amaro) particularly effective is that Amaro is no innocent--he skillfully forces a newspaper publisher to retract a scandalous story about the Church and is willing to take extreme steps to preserve his career. Some of the movie's harsher digs at the Catholic Church have provoked accusations of prejudice; but though Padre Amaro portrays a world in which no one's hands are clean, it also finds redeeming qualities in every character. A complex, completely engrossing movie. --Bret Fetzer

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