The movie Camila was based on actual events that occured in 19th century Argentina. A young woman named Camila falls desperately in love with a priest named Ladislao. Ladislao is conflicted, because of his promise to Christ, but the two lovers are unable to control themselves and run off together. Camila and Ladislao have to create alternate identities and leave their homes in order to be happy together. Eventually they are discovered and taken to Prison. Rosas, the leader of Argentina, thinks people would believe himself soft if he let the couple go, so Rosas has the two young lovers executed to prove a point. This movie was a huge success upon its release in Argentina and Maria Luisa Bemberg, the film’s creator, is a huge reason why.
Bemberg did something most people wouldn’t do, she focused her story from Camila’s point of view. Bemberg wanted to give the audience something they would not normally get. This is ironic because Argentine history, in the 19th century, was all about the male figure heads of the family and government. Rosas and Camlla’s father were ruthless against her. This society, ruled by men, did not accept a woman who did not act exactly like they believed a woman should. This brought the story closer to the heart of the director.
Since the actual event of Camila and Ladislao’s execution, the story of these two lovers was kept under lock and key. The Argentine Government had emposed strict censorship laws for many years, and the story of Camila was not one the government wanted its citizens to see. The story of Camila defied the strength of the government,and could have given people hope to fight back against oppression. This could be why the story was only allowed to be filmed once in so many years. The story may have inspired many people but not all of the movie was historically accurate.
After the bookkeeper is killed, Ladislao, using his position in the church as a way to vent, speaks out against the regime of Rosas. This, according to Donald Stevens, ,could not be true. Stevens writes, ” Rosas would not have ignored an outspoken opponent of his regime. His hired assassins would have acted quickly on orders to silence such a person permanently.” However, I know that movie rules 101 states that no protagonist may be killed prior to a story line being properly developed. Because of this, Bemberg decided to create a right and just priest, who was not afraid to stand up against tyranny and Rosas, that Camilla could truly fall in love with.
I do believe that a movie based on actual events, can be successful without having to change a lot of the actual facts. Unlike most movies of this type, Bemberg does not waver too far away from the actual histories. Instead, she uses other means to capture the audience’s attention. In an article by Stephen Hart, Bemberg says the little things like the clap of thunder when the two lovers kissed were tools she used to keep the audience wrapped in to the story.