Camila - The girl and the priest

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German title Camila - The girl and the priest
Original title Camila
Country of production Argentina
original language Spanish
Publishing year 1984
length 107 minutes
Director María Luisa Bemberg
script María Luisa Bemberg
Beda Docampo Feijóo
Juan Bautista Stagnaro
production Lita Stantic
music Luis María Serra
camera Fernando Arribas
cut Luis César D'Angiolillo

Camila - The Girl and the Priest is an Argentine-Spanish drama film directed by María Luisa Bemberg in 1984. It is based on true events.


The mother of the respected landowner Adolfo O'Gorman was placed under house arrest in 1827 as a suspected spy on Adolfo's estate. Adolfo's daughter Camila is still a child at the time. When asked by the grandmother if she likes love stories, she replies that she doesn't know.

In 1847 in Buenos Aires : Camila has become a young woman who begins to rebel. She develops feelings of hatred especially towards her father, who has already drowned kittens callously that she wants to save. She confesses this in church and also that she has lustful dreams. When she realizes that she has not spoken to her usual confessor, she leaves the church, irritated. She secretly purchases a book from the bookseller Mariano, who keeps supplying her with explosive literature, from Esteban Echeverría , who is critical of the regime and lives in exile. Ignacio, who, according to her father's wishes, should be her future husband, covers her, but also warns her.

At her birthday party, Camila meets the new Jesuit priest, whom she had confided in confession without knowing: Ladislao Gutiérrez, unlike her former confessor, is a young man. Camila is taken with him. During a visit to her grandmother, who has become strange in old age and indulges in her previous love affair, Camila reads her previous love letters, which seem like the contents of a love novel. Adolfo stops them being together after a short time. A few days later, bookseller Mariano is brutally murdered. Camila is horrified. During the sermon in the evening, Ladislao condemned the act from the pulpit and criticized the barbaric regime of the governor of Buenos Aires, Juan Manuel de Rosas. Camila is deeply moved. She defends Ladislao from her father, an admirer of Rosas', and develops an ever closer relationship with Ladislao during confession. This does not escape Ladislao's superior, who warns him about women. Camila wants to lead a better life in front of Ladislao and gives him some of her clothes for the poor. He finds a handkerchief from her in the clothes, which he brings to her, but which she gives back to him for the poor. Adolfo, meanwhile, has had enough of Camila's behavior and gives her a choice: Either she goes to a convent or she gets married. However, Camila wants a man she can be proud of. She therefore refuses to marry Ignacio.

Ladislao confesses his feelings for Camila in confession and then chastises himself. Later he falls ill and has a high fever. Camila learns of his condition at her grandmother's funeral and rushes to see him. She discovers that he is holding her handkerchief in his hand. After his recovery, Camila tries unsuccessfully to get him to meet. She finally looks for him in a clock tower and they kiss. They confess their love for each other and flee together to the small village of Goya in the province of Corrientes, where they pretend to be married and live under the names Valentina and Máximo Brandier. Ladislao makes himself popular as a teacher for the village children.

Both the Church and Adolfo O'Gorman are calling on Governor Rosas to find the couple and punish them severely. During an Easter celebration, Ladislao is recognized by a clergyman. The governor of Corrientes warns Camila and advises her to flee to Brazil with her lover. He provides both horses and provisions, but Camila finds Ladislao praying in the church. She realizes that she has lost him to God and Ladislao makes it clear to her in the morning that he cannot love her as long as God is in his life. Shortly afterwards soldiers appear and, to Ladislao's horror, arrest not only him, but also Camila. Both are detained separately and sentenced to death without trial. Adolfo's family tries in vain to convince him to work for his daughter's survival. The prison guard also feels sorry for Camila and is relieved when the prison doctor finds out that the young woman is pregnant. According to the law, pregnant women may not be executed, but Governor Rosas still enforces Camila's execution. At her request, the prison chaplain baptizes Camila's child by giving Camila holy water to drink. Shortly before the execution, Camila and Ladislao see each other one last time and look at each other until they are blindfolded. In the end, Ladislao is shot and Camila also dies, although the firing squad is initially reluctant to kill the pregnant woman. The dead couple are finally placed side by side in a coffin.


Camila - The Girl and the Priest is based on the true story of Camila O'Gorman and Jesuit priest Ladislao Gutiérrez, to whom the film is dedicated in the opening credits. The plot of the film takes place against the background of the tension between the federalists around the dictatorial governor of Buenos Aires, Juan Manuel de Rosas , and the Unitarians they are fighting against. In an interview, director María Luisa Bemberg described Camila's fate as “a shame for our people, and the lack of freedom, underestimation, and intolerance towards women in Latin America is still not that far”. The Camila case had previously been filmed in 1910 by Mario Gallo under the title Camila O'Gorman .

Camila - The Girl and the Priest was the third feature film directed by Bemberg after Momentos and I don't belong to anyone . Filming for the film began on December 10, 1983, the day Raúl Alfonsín was appointed as the new Democratic President of Argentina. According to Bemberg, the filming of the film would not have been possible during the military dictatorship in Argentina. The costumes were created by Graciela Galán , the film construction was done by Esmeralda Almonacid and Abel Facello .

The film was released on May 17, 1984 in Argentine cinemas, where it was seen by around 2.5 million viewers. It was also shown in GDR cinemas from November 14, 1986, after being shown as the opening film the day before as part of the Days of Argentine Film in the GDR at Kino International in Berlin.


The synchronization was carried out by the DEFA studio for synchronization. Imanol Arias is originally spoken by Lelio Incrocci.

role actor Voice actor
Camila O'Gorman Susu Pecoraro Gabriele Streichhahn-Schott
Ladislao Gutiérrez Imanol Arias Bernd Eichner
Adolfo O'Gorman Hector Alterio Wolfgang Greese
Joaquina O'Gorman Elena Tasisto Anne Wollner


"The story of this great passion is presented as a noble, decorative picture narrative," wrote the New Time . Camila - The girl and the priest is “a film of artistic format. Sharp social accents are set there, a camera [...] captures the oppressive atmosphere under a reactionary regime, the director formulates the desire for freedom of young people, ”says New Germany . The Berliner Zeitung described the film as “a passionate accusation against the abuse of power and dictatorship.” For the film-dienst it was “a very costly, straightforward and humanly appealing film about power structures, the abuse of power and the lack of freedom of women. "


At the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival , Susú Pecoraro was named Best Actress in 1984. Pecoraro also received the award for Best Actress at the Havana Film Festival in 1984. Camila - The Girl and the Priest was nominated for an Oscar in the category Best Foreign Language Film in 1985 as an Argentine entry .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Quoted from: Camila - The girl and the priest . In: Progress Filmprogramm , No. 11, 1986, p. 26.
  2. a b c David Beard: New Vitality In Argentina's Film Industry ., July 12, 1985.
  3. News on the screen. From November 7th to 13th, 1986 . In: Neue Zeit , November 7, 1986, p. 6.
  4. According to the credits of the film.
  5. Camila - The girl and the priest in the German dubbing index
  6. Manfred Meier: Information about life today . In: Neue Zeit , July 19, 1984, p. 4.
  7. Horst Knietzsch: Up-and-coming art of a high level . In: Neues Deutschland , November 14, 1986, p. 4.
  8. ^ Films from Argentina . In: Berliner Zeitung , November 15, 1986, p. 7.
  9. Camila - The girl and the priest. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used