The Pope's Toilet
|The Pope's Toilet|
Sandino Saravia Vinay
|Music by||Lucianno Supervielle|
|Edited by||Gustavo Giani|
It is 1988, and Melo, a Uruguayan town on the Brazilian border, awaits the visit of Pope John Paul II. Numbers begin circulating: hundreds of people will come, thousands say the media. To the poor citizens of Melo this means pilgrims in need of food and drink, paper flags, souvenirs, and commemorative medals. Brimming with enthusiasm, the locals hope not only for divine blessing but also a small share of material happiness. Petty smuggler Beto is certain that he’s found the best business idea of all: "The Pope’s Toilet", where the thousands of visiting pilgrims can find relief.
Beto is thwarted by lack of funds and the local mobile customs enforcement officer. Ultimately the promised "60,000 to 200,000" Brazilians do not materialise. Apparently (in the film's postscript) only 400 Brazilians came, disproportionately served by 387 stalls for food and trinkets. The film makes it clear that the visit was a financial disaster to the town rather than bringing any wealth as promised. Beto has spent his daughter's college fund to no avail, but she forgives him, and at least he has a nice toilet.
Regardless of the claims made in the film's postscript committed to uphold a good sense of humor at all costs, international media reported the Pope's open-air mass in the town of Melo with 39,000 inhabitants was attended by a crowd of about 50,000 people.
- César Troncoso as Beto
- Virginia Méndez as Carmen
- Virginia Ruiz as Silvia
- Mario Silva as Valvulina
- Henry de Leon as Nacente
- Jose Arce as Tica
- Nelson Lence as Meleyo
- Rosário dos Santos as Tereza
- Hugo Blandamuro as Tartamudo
The film was Uruguay's submission to the 80th Academy Awards for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was not accepted as a nominee. It is available in the United States from filmmovement.com.
BBC Four premiered the film on British television on 1 August 2010.
- Victor L. Simpson (8 May 1988). "Pope Tells 'Gauchos' That Church Backs Labor Unions". Melo, Uruguay (AP). Associated Press News Archive. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- LAT (9 May 1988). "50,000 in Uruguay's Gaucho Region Hear Pope" (2014 Collections - Speeches). Melo, Uruguay, Associated Press. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- Gaydos, Steven; McCarthy, Libby (2008-01-15). "Oscar's foreign film race heats up". Variety. Retrieved 2008-06-23.