Camila is an Argentinean film set in the mid 19th century, during the Rosas regime. The film focuses on the lives of a young girl, Camila, and her Jesuit priest Ladislao Gutierrez. Camila and Ladisalo fall in love and the film follow their troubles. Through following the events that happen with Camila and Ladisalo, the director shows how restrictive and devout the followers of Rosas were and of the resentment against him.
The unjust ways of the Rosas regime were illustrated passively. Instead of having Rosas a central character issuing orders to be carried out, Rosas was instead placed in the background of the film. You would see Rosas through the actions of the church, military, and of the common people.
His picture adorned the towns, everyone was to wear a red ribbon symbolizing their loyalty to Rosas. His supporters spoke of him proudly while those against him had to hide in silence. To illustrate the inherent problems of the Rosas era, the director chose to show the injustices through the ordeals of Camila and Ladislao.
First of all, in everyday life, Rosas demanded public showings of loyalty. Every citizen had to wear a bright red ribbon symbolizing their faith in their leader. Slaves, commoners, and even priests had to wear this ribbon. Through the execution of the bookseller, the tyranny of the Rosas regime is clear. He will tolerate questions to his authority or allow anyone with a dissenting opinion to speak without fear of retribution.
At the end of the film when the two young lovers are captured, Rosas rears his head again. Wishing to set an example to inspire terror into the masses, he doesn’t hold Camila’s execution even with the knowledge that she is pregnant. To further illustrate this point, the film makes it appear that Rosas is operating directly in contrast with the blessings of God.
While never specific in historical events, overall the film’s third-person look into the regime of Rosas does provide interesting historical insight about life in mid 19th century Argentina. Costumes and settings in Camila illustrate the lengths that the director made to make the film historically accurate. Entertainment-wise, Camila isn’t the worst foreign film that I have seen but isn’t the best. The story is a bit jumbled at the beginning and for the most part, the plot is entirely predictable.
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