Monday, September 6, 2010

Forgive but never forget

Romero (1989) - Duigan
Raul Julia plays Oscar Romero, the archbishop of El Salvador who was gunned down for speaking out against military violence on its citizens in 1980. Romero, a timid, frail man of books and privileges gets elected by the stolid church to keep things the way they are- El Salvador under military dictatorship, even though the civil unrest is growing.

It's not until his radical friend Father Grande (great Richard Jordan) gets assassinated Romero realizes that the cycle of violence is stemming from economic inequality and there needs to be justice for the poor. Julia is amazing. He gives a subtle yet passionate portrayal of the man of god.

Romero is a powerful film. Duigan (usually known for his fluffy fluff movies- Flirting, Sirens) doesn't shy away from showing the brutality of what had been going on with graphic scenes and actual pictures of the deceased Salvadorans. After the assassination, the country enters the 12 year long civil war.

The smallest country from Central America, El Salvador now is still far from perfect, but it joins many Latin American nations that went through horrendous turmoil against military dictatorship supported by the US government and have become reconciliatory, democratic societies. I hear the phrase 'Forgive but not forget' a lot from that part of the world. And it always amazes me. If it was done to me and my family, I don't think I could ever forgive anyone who raped and murdered, ever. My admiration goes out to them.

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