In early 18th century Peru an old Inca rope bridge collapses, plunging five travelers to their deaths in the Andean chasm below. Brother Juniper, who was within minutes of being on the bridge himself, becomes obsessed with discovering how five people of differing class and circumstances came to be on the bridge at that moment. The Catholic friar wants to know if it was mere existential happenstance or part of God's cosmic plan. After researching the lives of the victims for five years and publishing his findings in a book, he is accused of heresy by the worldly Archbishop of Lima and is put on trial for his life by the Inquisition.Written by
I was somewhat in doubt whether the movie was intended to be tragedy or comedy, historical or philosophical. Whatever, the actors obviously had fun dressing up and "play acting."
In any event, although I napped every now and then, this nicely filmed and acted, and very unusual film did have interesting moments, and I think I will watch it again. But my first response was to be intrigued by the name "Perichole." My Spanish dictionary drew a blank on "chole" so I suppose Wikipedia's article quoted in part below suggesting it is a derivative of "cholo" is accurate. The film does have the actress boasting that she was, at least in part, of Spanish blood.
However, I don't buy Wikipedia's claim that "perri" derives from "perro," although it might also fit the character. My Spanish dictionary has a slew of words beginning with "peri" but I thought the most applicable was the first entry which says:"1. A beautiful and beneficent fairy in Persian mythology."
Wikipedia suggests that Thornton Wilder lifted the basic characters from Micaela Villegas' tale:
"La Périchole's title character is based on Micaela Villegas (1748-1819), a beloved Peruvian entertainer and the famous mistress of Manuel de Amat y Juniet, Viceroy of Peru from 1761 to 1776. The name "La Périchole" is a French adaptation of a Spanish-language epithet by which Amat referred to Villegas: "La Perricholi" (the word derives from either perro, "dog," or perra, "bitch," and cholo, "of mixed blood")."
And the Tag line in IBMD's article on the 1944 film simply equates "perichole" with "Beautiful . . . Bewitching." Which convinces me that such was Villegas' intent. Puns are so interesting when one is naming characters.
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