Review: A Bathroom for the Pope

Ok, this isn´t about filming in Argentina. It´s about a movie from Uruguay, which although tiny compared to Argentina, has a film industry that belies it´s small population: two years ago, the theme music from “Whisky” won the Oscar for best song. And every once in a while, a real gem comes from this country with less than 1.5 million souls. “Un baño para el papa” or “A bathroom for the pope” is a film that captures the humor and the tragedy of a small town that prepares for the Pope´s visit in 1988. Everyone in the rundown town, including Teto, a small-time smuggler, sees the visit as a way to exit poverty, by selling snacks to the visitors. But Teto has a slightly different idea–to build a bathroom in front of his house and charge for “partial” or “full” service (ie, number one or number two).

The photography casts the town in shades of grey and green and highlights the personality of each character. All the roles are wonderfully acted and the situations, although absurd at times, are completely believable. A truly wonderful film, as reflected by its selection for the Cannes film festival.

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