The 1984 film Camila, directed by Maria Luisa Bemberg, is the theatrical account of Camila O’Gorman’s fatal relationship with the priest Ladislao Gutierrez. The movie is based loosely on the actual events in the life of Camila O’Gorman with the changes made for theatrical purposes.
The film opens with the O’Gorman family welcoming home their grandmother. This scene sets the stage for the future interactions between Mr. O’Gorman and his mother. At this time in Latin American history, the father of each household had the power. The father was in control of everyone under his roof and could make decisions about them without their consent. It was his job to “establish a regulatory framework that restricted and protected women and children“(Dore 11).  According to Elizabeth Dore’s One step Forward two Steps Back she states that “Senior men governed females and younger males in their household, a system that sustained the paternalist ideologies of the men that governed the nation and community”(Dore 9). In Camila,   there are many examples of the patriarchal system. In the movie, Mr. O’Gorman has complete control over his family. He chooses the man Camila is to marry, even though she does not love him. Mr. O’Gorman decides what is best for his mother, and does not approve of Camila visiting with her. Mr. O’Gorman also does not approve of the lifestyle Camila lives. She is very free spirited and craves knowledge. Dore also noted that females were allowed a primary education but were not allowed to receive a secondary education which men were allowed to attain. Camila secretly buys books from the town book keeper, who later in the movie is murdered because he opposed the beliefs of the government. A father needed to have control over his family.  Another example of Mr. Gorman’s position  in the household is during the dinner scene. Camila is expressing her feelings about Father Ladislao’s sermon, and her father feels that her actions are out of line. He punishes her by sending her to her room. Lastly, it is important to note that the father would do whatever was needed to better himself in the eyes of the government.  This is why he writes the letter to Rosas to have Ladislao and Camila killed because of their sins.

The political situation in Argentina at this time plays a very big role in the movie.  At this time in Argentinean government changed. At the time of the conception of the movie, the government had finally returned to one being ruled by a President. This allowed Bemberg to reference the previous leader Rosas throughout the movie (Hart 113). The red ribbons that everyone wore hinted at the type of political leader that was present. The red ribbons symbolized their support of Rosas.  This political tension is also what fuels Mr. O’Gorman’s fury when he finds that his daughter ran away and got married to a priest. Mr. O’Gorman’s reputation is tarnished and has to do something to save his name.

This movie somewhat accurately portrays the true account of Camila O’Gorman’s life. According to Hart’s A companion to Latin American Film the changes that were made were for the theatrical production, and most of what the audience sees actually happened but not necessarily in the way portrayed by the movie. The story of Camila O’Gorman clearly portrays the patriarchal society that inhabited most of Latin America and the struggles the countries had when they did not have the best people ruling.