For Greater Glory Inspires, Annoys Critics
One can expect film critics to lose their senses when the subject of a film touches on religion. With few exceptions, film critics are ardent secularists who don't get religion. Thus, there are (as expected) reviews of For Greater Glory that sneer about its failure to acknowledge the real reason the Cristeros rebellion ended; namely, that the US ambassador brokered a peace treaty in order to protect US interests in Mexico. Trouble is, that actually is the message of the film and it is one of the notes that is not quite right. In history, the peace treaty ended much of the persecution, but not all: the Calles government that led the persecution broke the treaty agreement and rounded up 3000 disarmed Cristero leaders and assassinated them. However some of the Cristeros kept on fighting, although in much diminished numbers. About 7000 took part in a Second Cristero Rebellion from 1934 to '39 under the Lazaro Cardenas regime. Cardenas was not as tough as Calles and killed hundreds where Calles killed thousands.
Some of the reviews are glowing, such as Fox News and the Seattle Times. However, as you might guess, the San Francisco Chronicle is not pleased. Some critics are even skeptical about the seriousness of the Cristero rebellion. Maybe they should ponder the historical fact that there were 4500 priests in Mexico when the war stared and less than 500 when it ended. The balance were killed, exiled or fled.
Well, Raul Lequizamon, an Argentinian friend living in Mexico reports that the reaction to the Mexican version of the film, called Cristiada, evoked the same left/right passions when it came out last month. "The 'intelligentsia', especially from the UNAM (national university in Mexico City) and other state universities was very negative about it and said that it is just Catholic propaganda for next general election." The Christian universities (now allowed again) had a different opinion.