I just saw the movie "For Greater Glory: The True Story of the Cristiada" last night thanks to a friend, a Grand Knight of our Order who brought me to his cozy house at La Vista, Quezon City.
I was really excited to watch this movie, so when my brother Knight invited me to watch the movie from a Blu-ray copy that just came in from the United States, I could not say no. So out with the previous appointments! haha
Do not watch this movie if you have not read anything about the Cristero War. The Wikipedia article is extensive enough to give you a good background of the movie.
I was lucky enough to read about the Cristero War before watching the movie that is why it was a bit easy for me to understand the first hour of the movie. Yup the movie is more than 2 hours long. The first hours will get you baffled because of the weird way the script was written. The second part of the movie is where the most touching part is. There you will see what it really means to die for your beliefs knowing that THAT belief will bring you your blessed eternal reward.
I cannot go on further to details as it may spoil the movie.
For members of the GULP, you will see some liturgical inaccuracies in the portrayal of the Mass in the movie. Yup, no Ordinary Form Mass here. Hello! Movie set in 1920s! But you'll notice a versus populum altar in one church in the movie but the original retablo and altar are still there together with the Communion rail.
You can also brush up on your Spanish since the English dialogue are interspersed with some Spanish sentences here and there throughout the movie.
Watch the movie until the end of the credits. No. I don't mean that the scenes you find in Marvel and Disney movies like Pirates of the Carribean. Just watch the whole thing. Blessed Miguel Pro was not in the movie but he was one of those blesseds who came out of the war. You'll see his martyrdom there.
PREPARE LOTS OF TISSUE! I guarantee you'll cry especially at the martyrdom of Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio.
PLEASE DON'T WATCH THE PIRATED VERSION!
The movie did not do well at the box office so help the producers recoup the expenses. You'll discourage Catholic producers for producing movies like this.
I just wonder why SM Cinema did not show this movie maybe because it was not released here. This movie was produced by independent film producers. I am not also sure if the Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson, is THE Carl Anderson as the executive producer of the movie. But the film producer "New Land Films" with the ship of Columbus as its logo is a tell-tale sign, that it might be produced by the Order.
|That is the image of Blessed Jose. His body is not incorrupt.|
Some reviews say you will suffer from Catholic tunnel vision after watching the movie which I find insulting since it presented the war just as it was. The Cristero War is never taught in Mexican schools since it is really a bad chapter in the nation's history. The Calles Law was really against Catholics, against religious freedom. Hello Obama!
You can draw a lot of parallelisms of the anti-Catholic bigotry and persecutions going on around the world. Is it really worth it to pick up arms and kill to defend the Faith? Or do a peaceful silent protest? If the Cristeros did not rebel, would it change the course of history? Would it force the Mexican government to rescind the anti-Catholic law?
The movie will leave you thinking of what you'll do if faced with the same consequences. And I can guarantee you, that whatever you promised in your Baptism and renewed every Easter, and the fire that you received from the Holy Spirit in your Confirmation, will all be put to test when that gun is pointed at you and you were asked to renounce your Faith in order to save your life.
Does St. Lorenzo Ruiz and the Boy Martyr of the Cristero War, Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, come to mind?
Speaking of the blessed boy, the actor who played him Mauricio Kuri is also coincidentally 14 year old at the time of the shooting of the movie. That is the same age when Blessed Jose was martyred. Here is his reflection of what it means to be "Jose"
"We can be Cristeros right now. not just to grab your gun and your sombrero," he said with a small laugh, "But to defend your faith. To say 'I'm Catholic and I'm proud of it. And if you don't know what Catholicism is, I can teach you. I can tell you about Jesus and tell you about José.' To live your life the way Jesus wants to live it. "
How refreshing to hear that kind of spiritual passion out of a teenager. I hoped out loud that the film would have a similar impact on others his age. So what would this aspiring actor want to say to those in their early teens?
"If they're going to watch the movie," he replied, "and I hope so because it's a really cool story. If you are going to watch it, you must see Jose's character and get involved in the feeling of all his torture because he is a martyr. Then be like him nowadays.
"It's hard being a Catholic. Maybe some friends are saying you are a fanatic but you must stand up for what you believe. You must stand up for your religion and your most dear friend, Jesus Christ!"
You can go and visit the website of the movie for more info.
You can also read this wonderful review from Sis. Anita Moore of V for Victory.
And I assure you, at the end of the movie, you'll love saying....
"VIVA CRISTO REY!"