Monday, December 6, 2010

Guadalupe Movie Reviews

Review by Jean M. Heimann
Catholic Media Review
The DVD is now out on the beautiful film "Guadalupe", which I saw at the theatre on December 17, 2006. The film takes place in modern day Mexico and and tells the story of a brother and sister team of Spanish archeologists, Jose Maria and Mercedes, who decide to investigate newly discovered information in the case of Our Lady of Guadalupe. What they learn changes their lives forever. Through their scientific research, the two discover, each in their own way, the true message that the Blessed Virgin Mary reveals at Guadalupe: that we are to live in harmony and peace with one another and to have faith and hope.

Guadalupe is not a high budget film, but a simple one, with intriguing parallel story lines. It is a Spanish movie with English subtitles so be prepared to read quickly - there's no snoozing during this movie. I liked it and so did my husband.

This is a wonderful movie for the family to learn about the history of Mexico and the meaning behind many of its traditions related to the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This movie is a gem. While the characters and dialogue seem a little simplistic at times - the message is powerful one - and the story is one you won't forget. It contains very touching and tender love stories on both the human and the spiritual levels. It is guaranteed to melt your heart. This is a film the entire family will enjoy.

I give it three *** of 4 stars. It is very good. Don't miss it!
Review by Joe Leydon
Variety Magazine
Simplicity and sincerity are the keynotes of "Guadalupe," a modestly engaging drama inspired by the much-heralded appearance of the Virgin Mary 475 years ago at the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City. Aimed primarily at Latin American Catholics and others devoted to (or simply intrigued by) the iconic figure known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, this Mexican-produced pic should satisfy its target aud during limited theatrical runs and long home-vid shelf life.

Working from an adeptly structured script by vet TV scribe Tessie Gutierrez de Picazo, helmer Santiago Parra nimbly time-trips back and forth between the 16th and 21st centuries, interweaving a reverent account of the miraculous visitation with a contemporary story that pivots on the phenom's enduring effects.

The 1531 sequences, which show how the Virgin Mary (Sandra Estil) used a poor Indian as her earthly messenger, are oddly appealing in their unabashed corniness, filmed and acted in the blunt-force style of an educational short. Mary tells elderly Juan Diego (affectingly played by Jose Carlos Ruiz) to pass the word on to the local bishop: She wants a church built near Tepeyac.

Not surprisingly, the bishop is slow to believe Juan Diego's report. But the old fellow gains considerable credence when he reveals his coarse cloak has been imprinted with the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

That cloak -- which still hangs in the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, built on the spot where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared -- looms large in the pic's modern-day storyline.

Despite their skepticism, sibling archeologists Jose Maria (Aleix Albareda) and Mercedes (Ivana Mino) are drawn to the Guadalupe myth. They journey from their native Spain to Mexico City to study the cloak itself, which has been proclaimed genuine by several reputable real-life scientists and researchers, and to interview a variety of guadalupanos (admirers and worshippers devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe).

"Guadalupe" has a strong flavor of soap opera -- or, perhaps more accurately, telenovela -- when it details how Jose Maria and Mercedes have been immutably shaped by their not entirely happy childhoods. Mercedes now avoids long-term commitments, even while wooed by a handsome colleague, and Jose Maria chronically neglects his wife and children while focused on work. Both need a shot at redemption. Which, of course, they get.

Pic is most interesting for mainstream auds when it focuses on the ecumenical appeal of Our Lady of Guadalupe, introducing a gregarious Jewish businessman (Pedro Armendariz) and a Muslim TV scriptwriter (Jaskarin), among others, to represent the multitudes of non-Catholic guadalupanos in and beyond Mexico.

It's also worth noting that, by sheer coincidence, "Guadalupe" appears just in time to serve as an ersatz companion piece to "Apocalypto." The appearance of the Virgin Mary, one character notes, helped end the era of human sacrifice among the Aztecs by hastening their conversion to Catholicism.

Tech values are uneven -- DV lensing is notably drab during dimly lit interior scenes -- but the performances overall are credible. Angelica Aragon is a standout as a maid who makes a joyful noise as she enthusiastically explains why Our Lady of Guadalupe continues to be so revered by so many.

MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 107 MIN. (Spanish, Nahuatl dialogue)
A Dos Corazones Films production. Produced by Pedro Marcet, Roberto Girault, Laia Coll. Directed by Santiago Parra. Screenplay, Tessie Gutierrez de Picazo.

No comments: