President Plutarco Calles of Mexico decided to use certain articles in the 1917 Constitution to eliminate the Catholic church in Mexico. He decided to use a catch-22 which protected religious freedom… so long as the practitioners were not subject to other laws. He expelled “foreign” priests and public vestments.
Mexico, being a traditional Catholic country, saw protests and demonstrations by Catholic organizations. Calles responded by force, employing Federal troops to commit extrajudicial killings. He saw the Cristeros as a threat to his statist regime and wanted it eliminated. This triggered the Cristeros War of the 1920s.
The movie skillfully the individual Cristeros… by and large ordinary people who simply wanted to practice their faith. Women were an important part of the movement, smuggling weapons and ammunition and providing food.
This film is excellent. I would give it six stars if I could. The acting is wonderful, especially that of Andy Garcia, who plays the role of the Cristero general Gorostieta. It has everything: political intrigue, adventure, moral underpinnings… truly a new classic. The portayal of Mexico’s central government, out of control and committing atrocities in order to make the people bow to its will, is particularly disturbing.
If you get this video be sure to watch the history piece “extra feature.” Although it has a feel of a promotional piece for the movie it is still worth watching in its own right.