I mentioned the film, For Greater Glory a few months back, and that I was conflicted about going to see it. Prior to this very Hollywood version, some smaller production companies put together similar films about this neglected topic in the history books.
If you haven't heard about it, For Greater Glory, is a film about the Cristero Wars that occurred in Mexico during the Presidency of Plutarco Elias Calles.
Like the period directly before it, it was a very turbulent time in Mexico, but it was different because it was an issue of religious freedom, and it was a rebellion started by the peasants of Mexico, and then fought by them.
Now why would this film mean so much to me and the family, and why did I kinda avoid seeing it and other films on the subject? Well, you kinda have to have been a reader of my blog, or the previous one, for some time. The reason I am here, and the rest of my family, is because of my great grandfather. He was right in the middle of the Cristero War and survived it. Not only was he in the middle, he was pretty much a target. My grandfather was living as a seminarian in Mexico when all of this was going on, right in the center of where all of this was born, and grew.
According to the family history, that my great grandfather told his kids and grandkids, he witnessed several priests and seminarians murdered and only escaped because the ones that died created distractions so that he and a couple others could live. I have done a lot of digging and research over the last couple years and my grandfather's story fits with so many other published biographies or reports.
So why didn't I want to see the movie? Well, I had the feeling Hollywood would screw it up, and I tend to get mad when Hollywood screws things up so I avoid anything that is based on anything factual. That's a lot of films these days. I ultimately had the chance to see the film this week, but only because my mom got a last minute call from a friend of a friend asking if she would speak about our grandfather's experience at a special screening of the show. I guess my mom had mentioned all of this a few years back and when they were brainstorming people, my mom's name came up.
I didn't hate the film, but there was a lot that bugged me. First, kinda nit-picky, but the in and out of accents and switching of accents drove me batty-- and that's from someone that speaks Spanish with a wonky Castillian accent on account of living in Spain and then combining that with my native Chicago accent and the street Spanish I pick up from friends. The second thing that really bugged me, and this is why I avoid the Hollywood version of the truth, was that the peasants were missing. This was a peasant revolt, the people became tired of the fighting and the laws and they were not going to give up their right to practice in the faith that they grew up with. THEY rose up, THEY organized, THEY fought, and THEY died....by the thousands. It was their war, and Hollywood took it away from them with that one film. In the film, it became a war fought by idealized students, the upper class citizens of a sparkling Mexican metropolis and decorated generals. K, it didn't irk me, it pissed me off.
So yeah, it pissed me off, but if you know nothing on the subject, its still a decent film to go see. Just be aware that like most of Hollywood's films, there is a lot of factual stuff that is completely ignored. The one thing that made me chuckle was one of the viewers asking, in total disbelief, if they really killed that way, and killed children too. One thing my dad told me growing up was that every generation before his, fought in a war, but they didn't leave their country to fight a war like they did here in the United States. Every generation before his in Mexico took arms and fought within Mexico, war after war after war.
You can read more about the film, For Greater Glory, here: http://forgreaterglory.com/