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Monsenor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero

29 customer reviews

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(Mar 20, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

In El Salvador in the late Seventies, one man was the voice of the campesinos, the poor, the disenfranchised, and the Disappeared -- all struggling under the corrupt Salvadoran government. Appointed Archbishop in early 1977, Monsenor Oscar Romero worked tirelessly and in constant personal peril until the day he was assassinated in March 1980.

Inspired by his friend Monsenor Rutilio Grande, himself murdered for speaking out against the social injustice around him, Romero broke off ties with the military and aligned himself with the poor, delivering messages of hope in weekly sermons which became national events. Encouraging direct action against oppression from his unique position in the Catholic Church, Romero preached a gospel of Heaven on Earth and a powerful version of Liberation Theology that directly impacted political events in El Salvador that still have meaning to this day.

With rare recordings and film footage from Romero's own collection and a wide range of interviews from those whose lives were changed by Archbishop Romero, including church activists, human rights lawyers, former guerrilla fighters and politicians, Monsenor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero is a timely portrait of one individual's quest to speak truth to the rich and powerful forces which dominated his government.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Archbishop Oscar Romero, Father Rutilio Grande, Eliud Porras, Ricardo Urioste, Manuel Quijano
  • Directors: Ana Carrigan, Juliet Weber
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: March 20, 2012
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006K49O0M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,635 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

There are some people who leave a legacy to humanity through their valor, bravery and sheer commitment to good that we should take pains never to forget. In my opinion, Oscar Romero was just such an individual. As such, I was absolutely thrilled to see that the new documentary "Monsenor" was primed to honor his memory while depicting his tumultuous last days. While I knew the journey would not be pleasant, his faith and that of his supporters during unconscionable times is something that deserves to be highlighted for a new generation. Ana Carrigan and Juliet Weber have put together an effective film that succeeds primarily through archival footage and contemporary interviews with El Salvadorans who were impacted by the country's bloody struggles prior to Romero's death in 1980. In many ways, it stands as a vital historical document for this reason alone. However, due to its specific focus, the material is best suited for those with a working knowledge of El Salvadoran history and a pre-existing knowledge of Oscar Romero.

"Monsenor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero" doesn't spend much time putting together a big historical picture of the country's volatile political climate. Romero's back story and past achievements, as well, are given but slight mention. Instead the documentary really begins (more or less) with the appointment of Romero as Archbishop in 1977 and follows the changing landscape until his death a few years later. It is, in no way, a biography. It is, instead, a recounting and a remembrance of the carnage and uncertainty of the era. While Romero and other murdered priests aligned themselves with the general populace against oppressors, it is really the stories of the average citizens that shine through in this piece.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By AGP on March 17, 2012
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"The film is intended to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Oscar Romero's death: a documentary, Monseñor: The Last Journey of Óscar Romero, directed by Ana Carrigan and Juliet Weber.

The film is, unintentionally perhaps, or at least effortlessly, a hagiography, a record of a saintly life. It is an astonishing compilation of footage from the last three years of Romero's life, not only of the archbishop himself but of army patrols and mothers of the disappeared and guerrillas on the move--and above all of those unforgettable Masses in which the small, unprepossessing archbishop read out loud the record of the government's atrocities while hundreds of ragged, persecuted campesinos listened in gratitude, their existence and suffering recognized at last."

-Alma Guillermoprieto (The New York Review of Books).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 8, 2012
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The only drawback of this video is that it has English subtitles. Most of the audio portion is in Spanish.

Excellent footage showing Oscar Romero prior to his death - interviews with people who knew him and worked with him.

The film is very moving - I was brought to tears a couple of times as people spoke of how he fought for them and helped them.

Not a happy film, but truly an INSPIRATIONAL one. Well-suited for audiences who read English well - probably 16 years and older.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dismas G. Fernandez on April 17, 2012
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Oscar Romero is a man whose life makes him a saint even if the Catholic Church won't make it official. Here is a man of valor who was not afraid to change his mind and even his way of life to proclaim TRUTH. The many words he used in his homilies and declarations paled in comparison to the life he lived proving his commitment to those words and to the teachings of Jesus Christ. To christian and non-Christian alike he stands out as a man of integrity on the correct side of the issues of life. He gave his life on behalf of the theory that the Church has a preferential option for the poor. He gave his life because he had a preferential option for the poor and the marginalized and the oppressed, especially those who were unjustly oppressed. "Monseñor" captures the true Romero! It is a "must see" for everyone who proclaims and believes in true peace obtained by true justice.
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MONSENOR: THE LAST JOURNEY OF OSCAR ROMERO (2009, 87 minutes, for El Salvadoran TV, Spanish with English subtitles) is a crude but shocking documentary about the horrid butchery and repression in El Salvador in the 1960s and 1970s. At the center of the story, of course, is global hero Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.

This is to my experienced eyes a typical South American TV documentary, whether released in theaters or no. It is a bit sloppy and confusing, with precious little narration in English--as if it were an afterthought. If you are not fluent in Spanish, you can just about forget catching it all in one viewing. The tiresome documentary, while never skimping on horribly graphic shots of corpses, skimps mightily on basic fact.

If you see this, you will first of all notice how it never explains exactly what happened in El Salvador to begin with--or what caused it to deteriorate later. You will hear next to nothing about the Church's fight with liberation theology, nor will you learn about the Vatican's uncompromising refusal to help Salvadorans at the time. Finally, you may notice that there are often no subtitles when people are speaking.

Worse, I found it most irritating that there was footage of Abp. Romero speaking and the producers saw fit to stick someone else's interview remarks on top--so an insignificant Salvadoran who may have been a guerrilla is more important to hear than the clean footage of Romero?! Even so, this is a can't-miss opportunity for viewers to at least get a basic education about that period and about Romero. This is no biography, though it is biographical in nature and focuses properly on Romero. The best thing here is Romero's actual taped diary, which has been remastered and is played often.

At least Abp.
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