144 minutes

Javier Fesser's devastatingly Buñuelian satire of religious fundamentalism swept the Spanish Goya awards by storm in 2009 - and deservedly so, as it's rare for a movie so densely packed with thought-provoking provocations to be as entertaining as this two-and-a-half-hour rollercoaster. Inspired by the true story of Alexia González-Barros, a Spanish teenager currently en route to canonisation, Fesser tells of the last six months in the life of the devout tween Camino, daughter to an imperious Catholic mother connected to the Opus Dei, who is diagnosed with advanced terminal cancer just as she has her first crush on the cousin of a schoolmate (appropriately called Jesús).
Fesser cleverly and swiftly moves back and forth between the drab, painful reality of sacrifice and devotion through a harrowing series of treatments, and Camino's colorful, romantic fantasies of a lush heaven where she and Jesus can be an item, inserting a series of adroit flashbacks to fill in the family backstory as it disintegrates around the girl; the kind father doubts more and more of his wife's well-meaning obstinacy in finding solace in religion, while the meek elder sister struggles mightily with her own vocation as an apprentice nun. The film steers well clear from condemning faith, but doesn't hesitate in pointing fingers at the hypocrisy of a meticulously organised system that purports to revel in real life but forbids any engagement with the world, through a respectfully subversive usage of convention and narrative that evokes Buñuel's sly Mexican melodramas as well as his corrosive Viridiana. However, Camino is its own beast - and a fine one it is.
© 2011 Jorge Mourinha. All rights reserved by the author 

Starring Nerea Camacho, Carme Elías, Mariano Venancio, Manuela Vellés; Ana Gracia, Lola Casamayor, Lucas Manzano, Pepe Ocio, Claudia Otero, Jordi Dauder, Emilio Gavira, Miriam Raya.
Directed, written and edited by Javier Fesser; produced by Luis Manso, Jaume Roures; music by Rafael Arnau, Mario Gosálvez; director of photography (Technicolor, widescreen), Alex Catalán; art director, Cesar Macarrón; costume designer, Tatiana Hernández; visual effects supervisor, Ferran Piquer. 
A Peliculas Pendelton/Mediapro production, in association with Wild Bunch; with the participation of Televisión Española and Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha; with the collaboration of Televisió de Catalunya, Institut Català de les Industries Culturals and Catalan Films & TV; with financing from Instituto de Crédito Oficial; with the support of Instituto de la Cinematografia y de las Artes Audiovisuales. (Spanish distributor, Warner Sogefilms. World sales, Wild Bunch.) 
Screened: DVD, Lisbon, March 17th 2011. 


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