Last night I saw “Santitos,” finally. It was so funny that I roared aloud in my chair. I’ve not laughed that hard in years, and I’m still happy over it. I’ve not seen the English subtitles so I don’t know if the humor translates well.
This is a visually complex film about material culture, religion, women/men roles and Mexican psychology. Beautifully shot, wonderful music, and ….the writing is gorgeous. One interesting thing is that every review I have read sees a different storyline. Each critic says that the story is “about…….” and the story plots are all different. That’s a sign of a good film.
Also, and AT LAST, we have a Catholic priest figure on film that can make us Catholics proud. The priest is not a central character but serves a central role as the foil to the adventurous main character, Esperanza. The priest is involved in Esperanza’s life, in the life of the town. He really cares, personally and emotionally, about Esperanza. He guides her the best way he can, trying to accompany her by giving good advice about the ways of God. At one point he exclaims to God, “she tells me where she’s been but not where she’s going.” And at another moment he is there for her to embrace (hug)fully in her moment of desperation. When after her repeated confessions he doles out penances to Esperanza, “just in case, throw in five rosaries before tomorrow,” he is hilarious.
This is a refreshing depiction of so many priests whom I know and whom I have know since my childhood. They are people who try to be holy and who search like the rest of us, but who have that one special gift: they are sure sources of grace and groundedness when we search for God’s voice.
The screenplay was written by MarÃa Amparo EscandÃ³n, a bilingual writer who lives in Los Angeles. It is based on her novel, “Esperanza’s Box of Saints.”