Have you ever heard of the Cristero War in Mexico? It is a bloody page of twentieth-century history largely ignored, until recently even in Mexico. In 1926 a civil war broke out in Mexico, after the government led by President Plutarco Elias Calles began a bloody campaign of persecution of the Catholic Church, but also of Christians, and especially of poor farmers. When the forces of the atheist regime executed a parish priest without trial, and then shot a 12-year-old boy who refused to renounce his faith, people took up arms. Government forces publicly hanged Christians on main thoroughfares throughout Mexico, and their bodies often remained hanging for extended lengths of time.
The war lasted from 1926 to 1929, with 50,000 Cristero rebels fighting government forces at the height of the clashes. The rebels hired General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, a hero of the Mexican Revolution, to lead them into battle. The general is played by Andy Garcia, who makes a strong and impressive role. The film enjoys an exceptional cast, with a constellation of stars such as Peter O’Toole, Eva Longoria, Oscar Isaac and Rubén Blades. Critics praised the well-written screenplay, fully-developed characters and compelling story.
Unfortunately, the outcome of the historical events, beyond the end of the film, is not a happy one. In the face of Cristeros’ military successes, President Calles seems to be taking a step back. But the federal authorities will not keep their word: they will soon take their revenge and kill, in the coming years, hundreds of leaders and thousands of former Cristero fighters. The campaign will run throughout the 1930s. This bloody persecution of the Church will provide the backdrop for one of Graham Greene’s most powerful novels, The Power and the Glory (1940).
- Original title: For Greater Glory. Cristiada
- Original language: English
- Starring: General Enrique Gorostieta (Andy García) / Father Christopher (Peter O’Toole)
- Genre: Historical movie
- Release date: 2012
- Public: Adults, teenagers