Monday, January 15, 2007

Free Nacho

This weekend my two older children finally convinced me to watch Nacho Libre, which means, apropos of Ignacio's, played by Jack Black, physique, "free nacho". I was not resistant to watching the movie for any reason other than I am usually too busy these days to watch films, which has always been a favorite past-time of mine. One of the things my spiritual director does when we are planning a retreat, is build in a couple of movies. As a visiting French priest teaching a class on Theology and Film replied to the complaint of a seminarian about wasting time on such a class, "My dear son, in France nobody goes to Church, but everyone goes to the cinema".

Anyway, I loved Nacho Libre, not least because this wonderfully silly film is loosely based on the true story of a real life Mexican priest, Fr. Sergio Gutierrez Benitez, who wrestled professionally for over twenty years under the name Fray Tormenta, en Ingles, Friar Storm. Like Nacho Libre, he wrestled in order to support the orphanage he directed. Another aspect of the movie, apart from the film itself, that attracts me is that it is co-written and directed by Jared Hess, who is a fellow native of Utah, an LDS film-maker who attended BYU and who gained fame with his film Napoleon Dynamite, along with his wife, Jerusha.

My favorite scene without a doubt occurs after Nacho and his side-kick, Esqueleto, en Ingles, the Skeleton, begin to earn some money wrestling and Nacho emerges from the W.C. looking relaxed and relieved and says, in his cheesy accent, "I'm worried about your salvation n' stuff". He then asks Esqueleto why he was never baptized. To which he replies. "Because I never got around to it, Okay!?" Then, not so subtly, but without catching the attention of Stephen (i.e., Esqueleto), while pretending to wash his hands, fills a bowl with water. Shortly afterwards, he pushes his companion's head into the water, thus baptizing him.

I also liked the fact that, in the end, the Franciscan Friar, Ignacio, and the nun, Sr. Encarnacíon, do not break their vows and run away together, but stay at the orphanage and continue to be true to their religious vows and their joint vocation to raise orphans. I enjoyed it tremendously

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