- Actors: Gabriel Byrne, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Kathy Bates, F. Murray Abraham
- Directors: Mary McGuckian
- Writers: Mary McGuckian, Thornton Wilder
- Producers: Craig Darian, Denise O'Dell, Elvira Bolz, Garrett McGuckian, Howard G. Kazanjian
- Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: New Line Home Video
- Release Date: Oct. 11 2005
- Run Time: 120 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- ASIN: B000ADS61C
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The Bridge of San Luis Rey [Import]
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Five people are killed in a freak accident when a lofty rope bridge collapses. A priest journeys to discover if there was a divine reason for this bloody disaster. Set in Lima, Peru, during the 18th century and based on the Thornton Wilder novel.
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humanly trying to second-guess an Act of God, and is burned, standing on the gathered copies of his book, at the stake.
You may or may not like this film translation by Mary McGuckian, but I was surprised to find the sum effect basically the same as the book"s. Most of Wilder's written work is like this-we always seem to be headed for some mysterious apocalyptic destiny which in the end is simply, the endurance of love over death and...confusion? Robert De Niro is good but unwillingly overbearing as the prosecuting archbishop. Geraldine Chaplin isn't asked for a lot as the Mother Superior and accordingly plays the role down. Harvey Keitel is believable as the Peruvian Viceroy. the man who couldn't keep the faith at the crux of the human/divine question.
I once asked my mother, a life-long Protestant, how she could reconcile the faith with something as barbaric as the live burnings the Bible apparently records and even allows. She replied, quickly but firmly, "says God will'"
So, who are you, sentencing archbishop?
And, who, then, am I?
First, an admission: This movie is not for everyone. Nor is it a good movie for viewing as a family or group -- far too layered! The reviewers who panned this movie were probably expecting something closer to normal movie fare. This is not that. This movie demands intellectual investment and the ability to entertain things not often discussed.
With that said, however, this IS a movie that is valuable for anyone willing to think deeply about often unspoken life issues. For anyone struggling with personal tragedy and/or disappointment, and willing to think critically about it, this is a superior movie. Yes, it has some pacing issues, and the way it envisions the novel is not always perfect, but overall it succeeds admirably. It presents very difficult subject matter in a visually appealing way. It tells the story of another time, transporting the viewer to a different place in order to gain a new perspective on the universal human condition -- the things we struggle with here and now, viewed in transcendent lens.
As the Book of Job says, "Man is born for trouble as surely as sparks fly upward." This movie deals with that human reality, tackling head on the question of evil: "Why do bad things happen to good people?" And, "How can I accept the good providence of God in the presence of tragedy?"
The big theme of the movie is our human struggle to understand and accept divine Providence: to accept that there is good at work even in our most fearsome or evil circumstance, and that at the end of the day Love will rule over all. English poet William Cowper once wrote, "Behind a frowning providence, God hides a smiling face." This movie is a journey to the smile, after encountering the frown. It is a call to endure in the pilgrimage of life, even when it doesn't seem possible or desirable to do so. It is a call to believe, even when the systems of belief turn against us.
The secondary theme of the movie is almost as big as the first: how does a person accept Providence whenever the appointed guardians of faith act in a manner incompatible with divine Love? Brother Juniper, in his impassioned attempt to reveal the Love of God even in the fatal accident at the bridge, runs afoul of church authorities. They do not appreciate his attempt to "Think the thoughts of God after Him." So, in his effort to show his parishioners Love in the midst of evil, he encounters more evil -- evil enacted in the name of God, no less!
So, as you can see, this isn't "easy" or lite movie-fare. But if you are ready to hear such questions asked, and see them dealt with in a hopeful and faithful manner, then this movie is for you: a visual, intellectual and spiritual treat. You may learn more about life and more about true love.
In the words of the movie, "Many who have spent a lifetime in passion can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday." So true!
This movie explores the loss, and in the process, shows us something more of love.
Money quote for the movie: "Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan. Some say that we shall never know and that to the gods we are like the flies that the boys kill on a summer day, and some say, on the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God."
This movie addresses that mystery not rationally, but existentially. And powerfully.
You'll be a better person for watching it, even if watching it is not completely easy, lol.
The visuals are beautiful in the movie. Unfortunately the movie drags and the dialog can be painful and dated.
The actors all seem to fit their parts but Robert Deniro- who I really like, seems to be the only one acting out of the era he is supposed to be living in.
It is like he broke character at certain points also. Too bad- this movie had promise and some very good stars are in it.