The Penitent

  • 1988
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Drama

Set in an unspecified location in Mexico or the American Southwest, THE PENITENT begins as Juan Marco (Armand Assante) visits the small village where his old friend Ramon Guerola (Raul Julia) has adopted the ways of the Penitente religious cult, a mainly Spanish-speaking splinter group of the Catholic church that believes in self-flagellation and literal...read more

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Set in an unspecified location in Mexico or the American Southwest, THE PENITENT begins as Juan Marco (Armand Assante) visits the small village where his old friend Ramon Guerola (Raul Julia) has adopted the ways of the Penitente religious cult, a mainly Spanish-speaking splinter group

of the Catholic church that believes in self-flagellation and literal reenactment of Christ's crucifixion as atonement. Persuaded to stick around for a few weeks, Juan soon seduces his friend's young wife and falls in love with her. As the end of Lent approaches, the man chosen by the Penitentes

to play El Christo falls ill, and Ramon is expected to step in. If the Christo dies, his wife must remain celibate for the rest of her life; Juan thus offers to take Ramon's place. Bolstered by some fine photography and strong performances from Julia and Assante, THE PENITENT nearly overcomes its

plodding pace and predictable melodramatics. The film is a competently directed but only marginally interesting romantic triangle that exploits a strange religious sect.

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  • Released: 1988
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Set in an unspecified location in Mexico or the American Southwest, THE PENITENT begins as Juan Marco (Armand Assante) visits the small village where his old friend Ramon Guerola (Raul Julia) has adopted the ways of the Penitente religious cult, a mainly S… (more)

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