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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Mexican film breaks records
Gael Garcia Bernal (left) also starred in Y Tu Mama Tambien
Garcia Bernal (left) also starred in Y Tu Mama Tambien
A film which has enraged the Catholic church in Mexico has gone on to break box office records there.

The Crime Of Father Amaro (El Crimen del Padre Amaro) has become the country's highest-grossing home grown film ever - in its first weekend.

Fans flocked to see the film, which portrays the failure of a young priest to keep his vow of celibacy, despite protests from the church and a number of demonstrations outside cinemas.

Mexican cathedral
The Mexican church also protested about films in 2000's Oscars
The film earned 31m pesos (£2m) and reached an audience of 863,000 people in 365 cinemas throughout the country, according to a company press release.

The attendance ensured that the film, made on a budget of just 20m pesos (£1.3m), turned an immediate profit.

The Crime Of Father Amaro stars Gael Garcia Bernal, who also featured in Mexico's previous record-breaker, erotic road movie Y Tu Mama Tambien.

Director Carlos Carrera was the TV producer of Mexican president Vicente Fox's electoral campaign - and seen as a key factor in Fox's victory in July 2000.

Celibacy

In the film, a newly ordained priest in a small parish begins a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

He also discovers that one of his fellow priests is involved in the drugs trade, and another with left-wing rebels.

The film is an adaptation of a satirical 19th Century novel by Portugal's Jose Eca de Queiroz, about a priest struggling with his vows of celibacy.

Many Catholic priests warned people against seeing the films and there were some hostile demonstrations on its opening day.

Conservative Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda said on Saturday that he would prefer death or imprisonment to having to view the film.

No date for international distribution has yet been announced.

See also:

20 Jul 02 | Country profiles
05 Apr 00 | Americas
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