MOVIES: For Greater Glory (+++++ Inspirational!!)

“Que viva Cristo Rey!”

Inspiration permeates this thought-provoking true story about Religious Freedom in Mexico during the 1920’s regime of President Plutarco Calles. Beautifully crafted, well acted with an amazing cast, the kind of movie that stays with you awhile – if you’re looking for a moving movie experience this weekend, be sure to catch this Independent feature, For Greater Glory, at an Artisty-theater near you.

“Who are you if you don’t stand up for what you believe? ..”

This epic creatively intertwines historic civic struggle against oppression with the transformation stories of two central figures: a little boy & a great general.

The movie opens as young José Luis Sánchez del Rio (Mauricio Kuri) throws rotten fruit at the elderly village priest.  Caught in the act, his uncle the mayor makes him help Father Christopher around the church.  As he experiences Fr. Christopher’s faith in God (& in José as seen through God’s eyes: even though he is quite a little hoodlum Fr. Christopher asks him to become an altar boy!) José begins to change.

“Who are you if you don’t stand up for what you believe? ..”

So says Fr. Christopher as José pleads for him to hide when government troops come into the village to kill him. (Incredibly inspirational performance by Peter O’Toole as Fr. Christopher.)  As José watches Fr. Christopher die for his faith, his life is transformed.

“Who are you if you don’t stand up for what you believe? ..”

Andy Garcia gives one of the best acting roles of his critically acclaimed career as General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, a retired general renown for successful battle strategies, who is called upon to serve the Cristero movement that rose up in revolt against President Calles (Ruben Blades) repressive anti-faith laws (closing of churches & religious orders, deportation of foreign priests …) & repressive measures (desecrating churches, killing priests…)  Even though his wife Tulita (Eva Longoria) is quite devout, he is an atheist (“this is not your cause!”)   General Velarde does, however, believe in freedom (& may be a little bored running his soap factory), so he accepts the task of unifying the scattered resistance and leading them into a cohesive fighting force.

Leadership that must be earned among the rough & ready bandito-ish fighters.

“Freedom is not just for writers and fancy documents ..but for our homes, our families, our lives…”   In the process the General is transformed as he sees the faith of those around him, especially José whom he comes to love like his own son.  As he struggles with faith, the General asks, ‘I don’t know where to find it.”  One of the devout ladies responds,”if your heart’s open it will find you.”

Rated R for battle sequences & violence (not nearly as gory as Braveheart or The Patriot) this movie also chronicles the heroic efforts of the Cristero movement’s leadership & sacrificial participation of so many individuals from all levels of Mexican society – women played a crucial role, priests provided spiritual support (& some military support, too), villagers provided food & shelter, lawyers drafted civil plans – all choosing to stand up for what they believed at great sacrifice.

i knew very little of this period in Mexico’s history except for a favorite book by Graham Greene, The Power & The Glory (set at the same time), but this is quite an education of unsung heroes who fought (& died) so bravely for freedom & faith.  May their legacy live on…

Que viva Cristo Rey!  (Long live Christ the King!)

grace, peace & inspirational movies

Virginia : )

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1 Response to MOVIES: For Greater Glory (+++++ Inspirational!!)

  1. Pingback: …lost &…FOUND(!) | Roses in the Rubble

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