'If you could hear the voice of God, would you want to keep it secret?' A historical drama based on the memoirs of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. This is the story of ...
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'If you could hear the voice of God, would you want to keep it secret?' A historical drama based on the memoirs of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. This is the story of a soldier, a man of vice and violence who, in his attempt to turn to the light, was forced to wrestle with his inner demons to the very brink of death. A Filipino production shot in Spain and the Philippines, the film chronicles his valiant but futile defense at the Battle of Pamplona, his struggles with depression and near-suicide, his trial before the Inquisition, and his ultimate vindication.
Also, as the first commercial, color feature film to be filmed and shot in Spain by a Filipino company (with ties to the Jesuit organization in the Philippines), it was also shot in English--which is NOT the native tongue of either the Philippines or Spain; but of the 2nd colonizer of the Philippines, the USA. (Note: the Jesuit operation in the Philippines is governed by the New York province of the Jesuit order). See more »
The most earnest moment in Ignacio De Loyola comes from a scene where the eponymous saint asks a prostitute to visualize God sat on an empty chair and think of the things that He would say to her. She replies with:, "He doesn't care who I was or where I've been, He only cares where I'm going." And in those words, the essence of the film is captured – no one is too far gone in God's eyes. Just like a sword forged in fire, St. Ignatius is hammered with blows of misfortunes that disguise as a trajectory towards his greatest achievement – The Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Paolo Dy's Ignacio De Loyola humanizes a saint's life beyond a piece of a holy statue. It works as an invitation to examine oneself, a challenge to "set the world on fire" with God's fervor.
Born into a regal and wealthy family, Iñigo López de Loyola (Andreas Muñoz) is a proud Spanish knight who draws chief delight in his military profession, a young man who pursuits a life of fame and vanity. Instead of earning his desire for a hero's death during a battle in Pamplona, he ends up crippled when a French cannonball shatters his right leg. Boredom and frustration starts to seep through his soul in a way pain does to one's body so he forces himself to read the books he has at hand: The Life of the Christ and The Lives of the Saints. After a spiritual calling compels him to live a life bound by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, he is faced with allegations of blasphemy, and plagued by his inner demons, which he has to conquest as he tries to listen to the voice of God.
Dy and his wife Cathy Azanza's script exudes some flashes of brilliant poetry. It even surprises with a handful moments of humor and some lines which I hope are inspired by Sun Tzu's Art of War. (one of which is "If your enemy is angry, then you have already won.") However, it has the tendency to oversell its message that at times the dialogues seem to be mere discussions of theology. The excessive third person narrations are also occasionally distracting. Narrations like "Iñigo dons his new armor, he opens the door " assumes that the audience is blind to acknowledge what is happening on-screen. It is squandering Muñoz, who is already an excellent actor, for the script to spell out his every single emotion.
While it is a smart choice to focus on a certain phase in Iñigo's life – his conversion from being a sinner to a saint – the film is yearning for a more solid story. The first half has a slow pace and you can tell it as the days are evidently passing by. As the story trudges along Iñigo's early life as a soldier, his conversion, his Spiritual Exercises and his encounter with The Inquisition, the plot structure suddenly looks strange when it gets to the blood-curling climax which actually happens on a flashback (or is it a dream sequence? I'm confused up till now). The story doesn't really need to be that linear, however, the over-reliance on flashbacks breaks the emotional momentum when it gets back to the present.
While Dy's efforts to handle such a gargantuan religious biopic occasionally fall apart, Ignacio De Loyola manages to deliver its greatest gift to its audience – the deep understanding for discernment. Our souls are continually drawn into two directions: towards goodness and towards sinfulness but if we peel away the many layers of our desires, fears and ambitions, we'll find God there. Hence, every word and every action should be done for His greater glory. The analogy of the Ignatian spirituality and watching a movie is really not that hard to follow. In the cinemas, you will be faced to choose between the two: a mainstream film or a religious film full of philosophical and theological substance.
Full review: http://www.filmpolicereviews.com/reviews/ignacio-de- loyola
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