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The Pope's Toilet (2009)

Cesar Troncoso , Virginia Mendez , Cesar Charlone and Enrique Fernandez  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Cesar Troncoso, Virginia Mendez
  • Directors: Cesar Charlone and Enrique Fernandez
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Film Movement
  • DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KW74BA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,812 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Pope's Toilet" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews


Towers supreme!...alternately heartbreaking and hilarious. --The Village Voice

Product Description

It s 1988, and Melo, an Uruguayan town on the Brazilian border, awaits the visit of Pope John Paul II. 50,000 people are expected to attend, and the most humble locals believe that selling food and drink to the multitude will just about make them rich. Petty smuggler Beto thinks he has the best idea of all--he decides he will build a WC in front of his house and charge for its use. His efforts bring about unexpected consequences, and the final results will surprise everyone.

An alternatingly touching, humorous and poignant story of human dignity and solidarity from director/scriptwriter Enrique Fernández and noted cinematographer César Charlone (Oscar-nominated City of God ). Co-produced by Oscar-nominee Fernando Meirelles ( City of God and The Constant Gardener ).

WINNER Horizons Award, San Sebastian International Film Festival
WINNER International Jury Award, Sao Paulo International Film Festival
WINNER Audience Award, Golden Kikito and Kikito Critic s Prize, Gramado Film Festival
WINNER Silver Colon, Huelva Latin American Film Festival
NOMINATED Golden Colon, Huelva Latin American Film Festival
WINNER Best First Work, TVE Award, Lleida Latin American Film Festival
WINNER Best First Film, Best Actor and Best Cinematography, Providence Latino Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION Cannes Film Festival, La Rochelle Film Festival, Lama Film Festival, Montevideo International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, San Luis Cine International Film Festival, Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Guadalajara International Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truely excellent film January 7, 2012
After reading some of the not so good reviews (and the several glowing reviews) I was impelled to respond. "The Pope's Toilet" is a very poignant story with a subtle religious message based on a real event. I have read and seen much about religion, but this film presented the idea more effectively than most. It also helped me understand the grinding and relentless poverty, and petty corruption, that perhaps defines many third world countries. It is hard to understand how viewers living in this country could say it was a boring, so-so film. I would recommend it to every mature and discerning viewer. . .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This movie is touching, poignant, and heartfelt, while still being realistic and interesting. It's an empathetic portrayal of some poor families in small-town Uraguay, who are human and close-knit, and have aspirations to better their lives through capitalistic endeavor after learning that the Pope would visit their town to give a speech. Of course, they learn in the end that capitalistic investment has risks!

It's title originally threw me off, as it didn't sound like something I wanted to watch. But once I started watching it, the pathos of the main character is very touching, as he strives to build a fancy pay toilet and capitalize on the predicted thousands of Brazilian visitors to the Pope's speech. He really wants to build a better life for his family, rather than continuing the pathetic scrapping out a living being a bicycle smuggler. The movie builds real tension as he works with all his might against time and the forces pushing against him, because you don't know whether he will succeed or tragically fail. (For the ending, watch it for yourself and see!)

I really liked the insight into the characters and relationships in this small slice of the South American world. Of course, it's just a movie, but if it rings true, then many wealthier persons in the developed world would envy the close friendships and sense of community that is displayed here.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A town in northern Uruguay, 60km from the Brazilian border, is excited about the impeding papal visit. Residents discuss ahead of time how to prepare their town for such an honor. The local TV station hypes up the visit, interviews its people and we learn that many of the residents had taken out loans to beautify their homes and town for the visit and to sell goods for visitors from Brazil.

It's a touching enough story. The plot evolves around one poor family of husband Beto, a smalltown smuggler riding an old one-speed into Brazil for goods he can sell at a profit in town. He thinks himself above his simple-thinking wife. He, afterall, uses his "thinking cap" and shemes up ways to make a living. But if only he had paid attention to her idea of profiting from the papal visit!

Apparently a lot of other bicyle-riding smugglers do this for a living, as the disinterested border guards let most through without stopping (unless they are black). The Brazilians don't care much for these poor Uruguayans who keep cycling across the border, and the Uruguayans seem quite content with their lives.

All around you is poverty. Stray dogs stroll around town looking for handouts. Old men sit in front of their homes chatting with neighbors. The flat, green fields around Melo are the backdrop of this movie, and all the neighbors seem to get along in their communal poverty. It really doesn't look like a town the Pope would or should visit.

Carmen, Beto's loyal wife, despairs of her husband's grandiose ideas but supports him anyway. Their daughter Silvia (who has dreams of being a radio announcer one day), somehow is the most beautiful creature in this movie seems to be accepting of her fate yet sees the family savings go to waste for the papal visit.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone can use a toilet !! October 11, 2012
You can't blame people who try to make a buck during an advantage of a lifetime. In this small rural Uruguayan town, the Pope is planning a visit and the locales devise a plan to make use of that time.

Filmed in 2007, the action takes place in 1988 when Pope John Paul II makes a visit to Melo, Uruguay. There is footage of Pope John Paul II visiting the town, as this is based on a true visit.

The main character, Beto, is a grocery smuggler, and poor. He is married to Carmen with a teenage daughter who has visions of becoming somebody, namely to become a TV reporter.

With the anticipation of the papal visit, the impoverished townspeople have imaginations that thousands of people will pass through the town. The numbers are exaggerated from thousands to as much as 50,000. Therefore, they hatch plans to sell what they can, laboring at huge quantities of foods, then spread out on tables awaiting the thousands of passersby.

But Beto has another plan, knowing thousands will be in town, it figures that thousands may need to use the toilet. So he builds one, without plumbing, but a fancy door.

This is a fun, light, humorous movie, with professional and amateurs alike. The storyline moves quickly and one just can't wait to see how the great plan evolves.

Film Movement released this little gem. Film Movement brings film from around the world, great writing, great directing, great movies.......See it! Rizzo.
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