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For Greater Glory (2012)
Friday, June 1, 2012
Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Peter O'Toole, Oscar Isaac, Ruben Blades, Bruce Greenwood, Nestor Carbonell, Bruce McGill, Santiago Cabrera, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Eduardo Verastegui
What price would you pay for freedom? In "For Greater Glory," an impassioned group of men and women each make the decision to risk it all for family, faith and the very future of their country, as General Gorostieta (Andy Garcia), the retired military man who at first thinks he has nothing personal at stake as he and his wife (Eva Longoria) watch Mexico fall into a violent civil war
For Greater Glory (2012) | Preview
Interview with the Director
That line, spoken by Peter O'Toole as Father Christopher, sums up the film For Greater Glory, which releases June 1 by Arc Entertainment. The film is based on the true story of the 1920's Cristero War in Mexico that erupted after President Plutarco Calles outlawed religion. Across the country, men and women made the decision to risk it all for family, faith, and the very future of their country. The three year war left 90,000 dead; many people were martyred for their faith, including a young boy, Jose Luis Sanches del Rio.
Dean Wright, who previously worked as Special Effects Supervisor on such blockbusters as Titanic, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Chronicles of Narnia, steps into the Director's position with For Greater Glory." Paula K. Parker recently attended a press junket, where Wright spoke about the challenges of filming several of the film's more intense scenes.
Q: The scene of the martyrdom of Jose was reminiscent of Christ's death. Was that intentional?
Dean Wright: Movies are a great tool for not just communicating stories—which in this case we had an incredible story—but for inspiring people with individual feats of courage or sacrifice. They're also a great way to visually move an audience.
We tried it a number of ways. One was where we shot the film, in a number of the most spectacular places, most of which were where the conflicts were based.
It's a great way to reinforce the overall theme of the film; in this case, it was faith and sacrifice. You'll see this in several ways. There's visual imagery; if you go back and watch the film, you'll see visual motifs that are repeated over and over again for specific reasons at specific times.
Camera work is done that way too; it's symbolic. When we're on the Federales or President Calles, it's solid, it's firm. We don't move; we're very slow. It's like a rock that's hard to push against. When we're with the Cristeros, it's free-flowing; it's pulling you into the war. You feel the kinetic energy that's happening there.
Specifically to your question, the real Jose was brutalized in a way that we only hint at in the film. In fact, even from an early cut, we trimmed it back even more. He did what happened on the screen. Shooting it the way we did was absolutely showing his step of following the path that Christ took, because that is what he knew he needed to do.
It certainly was deliberate; hopefully not overly obvious. It's what he did and it's also a metaphor for what inspired him to do what he did.
Q: When Jose is killed, the camera angle is from above and it's the same with Father Christopher. Was this an intentional God's eye-view?
Dean Wright: Perhaps; it serves a dual purpose. Both [camera angles] are straight up, looking straight down. With Father Christopher it's solid, unmoving. With Jose, it slowly moves in with the boy, as he is kicked like an animal into the grave; to help communicate that feeling of sorrow.
I've got to tell you that it was the most brutal day of the shoot for me. Michael Love did an incredible job writing the screenplay. I did a little polishing, trying to make it a little more cinematic. [Laughs] I'm allowed to say that, I'm the director.
To take the stories of these people; I saw them as fictional, but then I met them. I met Gorostieta's daughter. I met relatives of Anacleto. I traveled the country and saw—in the middle of nowhere—a church with a shrine, with a little picture and some flowers in remembrance of the priest who wouldn't leave and was shot.
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