The story of Maria Luisa Bemberg’s Camila is a semi-factual and historical account of the forbidden love between 20 year old Camila O’Gorman who came from a prominent, well respected Argentine family and Uladislao Gutierrez, a Catholic priest and the nephew of the Governor of Tucuman. In the film, we see the couple’s love blossom under the restricted culture of 19th century Argentina, which is ruled at the time by Governor Juan Manuel de Rosas.  Their love is forbidden mainly because of Ladislao’s priestly oath to the Catholic Church, and there is a public outcry against the couple’s degenerate actions of breaking this oath: Ladislao for betraying God and Camila for seducing a man of the cloth.  Though their love appears to be true and defies not just the culture of the time, but of all the odds against them, they are ultimately put to death while in prison for their actions.

Bemberg’s film has several levels of meaning to it, which must be analytically analyzed to see.  First, there is the clear feminist aspect of the film: Camila is the main character of the movie who is a strong-willed and educated woman that defies her father and his society to fulfill her own wishes for love and for her to live the life she chooses.  Bemberg chose to tell the story from Camila’s perspective, not just because Bemberg is a woman herself, but to empower woman in Argentina in the late 20th century by showing this strong woman who stood against the conventions of her era to be with the man she loved.

Next, it is clear that the film is a historical representation of early Argentinian society in the 19th century, during a time of political upheaval and unrest.  Rosas ruled the nation with an iron fist and suppressed any that would stand against his rule.  This is best represented in the film by the execution of the pregnant Camila at the end of the film.  The killing of not just her, but her baby, shows that Rosas is determined to stop the upbringing of any other culture, Camila and her child, that might be a threat to his rule.

Last, the film represented the modern day military dictatorship society of Argentina that the country had just emerged from in the previous few years by electing their first democratic president, Raul Alfonsfn.  Bemberg’s film paints a denouncement of the brutal rule and censorship that the country had just faced in the previous decades by mirroring it with the formative years of the 19th century that Argentina had gone through under the repressive Rosas.  By using this paralleling of the similar societies, Bemberg struck deep with thousands in her nation that had suffered for years, and made Camila the top-grossing film for that year, surpassing even E.T. in her country of Argentina.