El Bano del Papa View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Cesar Charlone Enrique Fernandez

Produced: 2007

Countries & Regions: Brazil, France, Uruguay

DVD Details

Certificate: 15

Length: 90 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 4 October 2010

Cat No: SODA062

Extras:
Languages(s): Spanish
Subtitles: English
Interactive Menu

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El Bano del Papa

Cast: Cesar Troncoso , Virginia Mendez , Mario Silva , Virginia Ruiz , Nelson Lence , Henry De Leon

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Set in rural Uruguay in the late 1980s, this deadpan morality tale from director Cesar Charlone shows how an impending visit from the... Read More

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Set in rural Uruguay in the late 1980s, this deadpan morality tale from director Cesar Charlone shows how an impending visit from the Pope to the small town of Melo stirs up a flurry of activity among the town’s poorest residents, all of whom hope to grab this one opportunity to make their fortune by catering to the needs of the flood of pilgrims expected to arrive in the town for the Pope’s visit. Beto (Cesar Troncoso), whose meagre livelihood has hitherto depended solely on his battered old bicycle, hits upon the idea of a paying toilet as the best guarantee of striking it rich - and proceeds to wheel and deal his way into paying for it with all the family’s hard-earned savings.

Almost certainly one of the sweetest films you’re likely to see this year, this charming – but also keen-eyed and unsentimental – Uruguayan comedy tells the story of the twinkle-eyed but luckless Beto, a man who scrapes a living by smuggling goods across the Brazilian border on his bicycle. However, when Pope Juan Pablo II decides to come to his small Uruguayan border town, he – along with the rest of the villagers – decides it is his one chance to cash in on the flurry of activity that the visit prompts. Inspired by everyone else’s idea to sell food to the expected hordes, Beto’s grand plan is to build a toilet outside his house for paying customers (“half or full service”), but to do so he first has to deal with the corrupt border patrol.

With its air of a modern-day morality tale, in which the pomp and platitudes of the church are contrasted with the realities of life at the sharp end of poverty and debt, this is a heartbreaking, beautifully played, bittersweet comedy about honesty, friendship and family ties. Not coming to the Vatican’s top 10 anytime soon!

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