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Perfect Obedience

The fictional Father Ángel de la Cruz is based on Legion of Christ founder Marcial Maciel, whose long history of child abuse was not addressed until 2006 and only publicly acknowledged in 2009. But director Luis Urquiza chooses to structure his film through the largely uncomprehending, wondering eyes of 13-year-old Julián, who travels from the arms of his loving pastoral family into the austere, hallowed halls of the seminary. Singling out the boy as his intimate disciple, installing him in his palatial private quarters and redubbing him “Sacramento Santos,” Father Ángel begins Julian’s instruction into the mysteries of “perfect obedience,” whose cardinal rule is: Never question a superior’s actions.

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