Camila (film)

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Film Poster
Directed by María Luisa Bemberg
Produced by Lita Stantic
Written by María Luisa Bemberg
Beda Docampo Feijóo
Juan Bautista Stagnaro
Starring Susú Pecoraro
Imanol Arias
Héctor Alterio
Music by Luis María Sierra
Cinematography Fernando Arribas
Editing by Luis César D'Angiolillo
Release dates
  • 17 May 1984 (1984-05-17)
Running time 105 minutes
Country Argentina
Language Spanish

Camila is a 1984 Argentine drama film directed by María Luisa Bemberg, based on the story of the 19th-century Argentine socialite Camila O'Gorman. The story had previously been adapted in 1910 by Mario Gallo, in the now considered lost film Camila O'Gorman. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, marking the second time an Argentine film was nominated for this award.[1]


It is 1847 and Camila O'Gorman (Susú Pecoraro), a pillar of Buenos Aires society, belongs to a family which enthusiastically supports Argentine dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas. She is engaged to Ignacio, a wealthy man with whom she is not in love. When her fellow socialites advise her to not let Ignacio get away, she describes her longing for a husband she could love and feel proud of. Secretly, she reads literature critical of the regime by author Esteban Echeverría. She also openly speaks her views, which enrages her father. One day, during confession, she meets a Jesuit priest, Father Ladislao Gutiérrez (Imanol Arias). Camila immediately develops a crush on him, but after hearing Fr. Ladislao denounce the regime's death squads from the pulpit, she falls deeply in love. Fr. Ladislao first attempts to beat his feelings for Camila out with a whip, but finally surrenders to her advances. They begin a clandestine affair.

They escape the family hacienda and elope to Corrientes Province, where Fr. Ladislao poses as a school teacher. While Camila is ecstatic with happiness, Ladislao is torn between his love for Camila and a deep longing for the abandoned duties of his priesthood. They are identified, however, during an Easter celebration by Father Gannon, a priest who knows them both. The village commandant informs Camila that he will not arrest her until morning and advises her and Ladislao to cross into Brazil. However, Fr. Gannon's words about how, "God does not forget his chosen," have brought Fr. Ladislao's troubled conscience to a crisis. He runs to the village church and screams at the eucharist, demanding to know why God cannot leave him in peace. However, he decides that he must return to Buenos Aires and do penance before his Bishop. The resulting delay prevents him and Camila from escaping and leaves the commandant with little choice other than to arrest them.

Meanwhile, Camila's father, Adolfo O'Gorman, is enraged by how the family name has been dragged through the mud by Camila's actions. Despite the pleas of Ignacio and the rest of the family, he writes to dictator Rosas and demands the death penalty for his daughter. With both the Church Hierarchy and his political allies demanding blood, and his exiled opponents using the scandal to mock his rule, Rosas orders Camila and Fr. Ladislao to be shot without trial (in fact, the actions and decisions of the dictator are inferred by the plot and by the actions of other characters, since Rosas is a ubiquitous presence throughout the story, not unlike Nineteen Eighty-Four's Big Brother, but the image of Rosas only appears in the form of painted portraits, and no actor plays his role).

In a military prison, Camila and Fr. Ladislao are forbidden to see each other. While imprisoned, Camila learns that she is carrying Fr. Ladislao's child. Despite the fact that the Law of Argentina forbids the execution of pregnant women, Rosas refuses to delay or commute Camila's sentence. Before they are confronted by a firing squad, the prison chaplain gives Camila holy water to drink and thus baptizes her unborn child. Fr. Ladislao sends her a final letter affirming his love for her and saying that, because they could not be together on earth, they will be reunited in heaven before the throne of God.

Although the firing squad guns down Fr. Ladislao without a second thought, they initially refuse to kill a woman. When their Captain threatens to kill them if they refuse, they open fire and shoot Camila in the stomach. Their bodies are then dumped into the same coffin. The couple's final words are told once more in voiceover: "Ladislao, are you there?" - "By your side, Camila".


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The 57th Academy Awards (1985) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-10-30. 

External links[edit]