The Pope's Toilet (El Baño del Papa) (4 stars)

The Pope's Toilet (El Baño del Papa)

DRAMA

(15) 98min

Like the recent Couscous, The Pope’s Toilet works up a great deal of narrative tension out of what are very believable anxieties. Its strength is that it generates a plot out of real life and real concerns. Taking as its premise a visit Pope John Paul II made to the Uruguayan town of Melo, the film explores how the locals hope the visit will work a mini-economic miracle. Expecting many thousands of visitors to pour in from nearby Brazil, Beto (César Troncoso) and his neighbours all borrow heavily against the possibility of making a fast buck out of the visit. Beto and his family build a toilet that can be used by the hordes they’re expecting, but will all go according to plan?

Directors Enrique Fernández and César Charlone have made a film that is heavy on pathos and offers too many reaction shots to Cesar’s wise daughter looking at her parents’ messy lives, but this is cinema with a purpose, a film that cranks up the tension as well as a thriller but with a decidedly more socio-political purpose.

GFT, Glasgow & Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 5‐Thu 11 Sep.

The Pope's Toilet

  • 4 stars
  • 2007
  • Uruguay/Brazil/France
  • 98 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: César Charlone, Enrique Fernandez
  • Written by: César Charlone, Enrique Fernandez
  • Cast: César Troncoso, Virginia Méndez, Mario Silva

Taking as its premise a visit Pope John Paul II made to the Uruguayan town of Melo, this film explores how the locals hope the visit will work a mini-economic miracle. Beto (Troncoso) builds a toilet that can be used by the hordes they're expecting, but will all go according to plan? A tense film with a decidedly…

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