June, I blogged about an upcoming movie, at the time titled Cristiada, starring Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria, based on one of the ugliest and most violent periods in modern Church history; the Mexican Cristero War.
It is a little known three year civil rebellion (at least in America) that began as a blatant assault on the Roman Catholic Church by the Mexican government in the late 1920’s (1926-1929). It led to over 90 thousands deaths, including of innocent women, children, civilians and clergy, when a ragtag band of peasant ranchers and rebels took arms against the military forces to protect the Church, their families and freedom from the persecution.
After premiering in Mexico in April, the movie, re-titled, For Greater Glory; the True Story of Cristiada, will finally hit U.S. theatres on June 1st.
It is a classic Hollywood story of good versus evil, freedom versus oppression and overcoming apparently insurmountable odds through faith, unity and will, although, some would argue (me), the fact that a Hollywood movie would portray the Church on the side of good and freedom is overcoming insurmountable odds in itself!
It was during a time when then Mexican President, Plutarco Elias Calles (played in the film by Ruben Blades) decided to enforce anti-clerical provisions in the Mexican Constitution of 1917, meant to weaken the Church, which the government saw as a political and social threat because of the influence it had on the faithful, and give more power to the secular government.
At the behest of President Calles, government forces began storming churches, imprisoning and killing clergy and pressuring and terrorizing faithfull Catholics.
After efforts to mount a peaceful resistance to the government intrusion failed, an unlikely group of rebels, led by a retired General, named Enrique Gorostieta (Garcia), who was reluctant to join the revolt at first because he did not believe in the cause but then realized it was a fight for freedom in his homeland, became known as the Cristeros, because they claimed to be fighting for “Cristo El Rey” (Christ the King), started organizing and fighting back.
The movie has an all-star cast that, aside from Garcia, Longoria and Blades, includes Peter O'Toole, Oscar Isaac, Bruce Greenwood, Nestor Carbonel, Santiago Cabrera, and Eduardo Verastegui (of Bella fame).
Dean Wright, who is best known for his work in visual effects in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic, is making his directorial debut.
It is ironic that the film debuts during a time in the U.S., when the Church is also under attack by the government, albeit in a more subtle but possibly as infringing on the consiences of the faithful Catholics. Then again, that seems to be a recurring theme for the Church, at different points in the annals of its two thousand year history...
Check out the trailer: