Just saw this powerful and polarizing Spanish film at the Egyptian theater as part of their “New Spanish Cinema” series. This is easily the most powerful film I’ve seen recently.
It tells the story of a young girl called Camino who leads a seemingly ordinary happy life in Madrid. Camino and her family are part of Opus Dei, a small but powerful section of the Catholic Church. Things take a turn for the worse when Camino is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer.
I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, suffice to say that is a very rich film that like another Spanish film, Pan’s Labyrinth, combines reality and dream-like fantasy to tell the story of the suffering of a young girl by the hand of the adult world. In Pan’s Labyrinth it was the war that causes the suffering, and in Camino it is the strict rules of religion.
From a Cinematic perspective, the film is a triumph, at almost two and half hour it keeps you glues to the screen at all times and literally transports into the inner world of Camino and the strict lifestyle of Opus Dei followers.
In a Q&A session at the end of the film, the director, Javier Fesser, insisted that the he loves all characters in the film and that his point of view is completely neutral, but me and the rest of the audience, judging by the questions that were asked, couldn’t help but feel that he is taking somewhat of a stand against Opus Dei and against their Camino (way) which states that there is only one way to happiness, through god.
Perhaps in that the film is somewhat of a failure as there is definitely less sympathy towards the ultra religious characters that surround Camino and they only elicit sympathy when they are having a rate moment of secular show of emotions, such as the older sister playing the guitar, or the mother finally agreeing to purchase a revealing red dress for her daughter.
Then again it might just be my point of view and interpretation, in any event Camino is a film well worth watching and forming your own opinion of. An experience not easily forgotten.