El Bao Del Papa review

Middle-aged Beto (César Troncoso) ekes out a living for his wife (Virginia Méndez) and teenage daughter (Virginia Ruiz) by smuggling contraband across the border from Brazil to the Uruguayan town of Melo. When he learns that Pope John II is passing through Melo on his tour of Latin America and that 50,000 visitors are expected, Beto has a money-making brainwave: he’ll build a lavatory in his garden and charge any pilgrims who need a rest-stop. Co-directed by César Charlone (director of photography on City Of God) and Enrique Fernández, this is elegantly shot and boasts a convincing blend of pro actors and ordinary folk. El Baño Del Papa (which translates as The Pope’s Toilet) is an engaging and humane affair, never losing sight of its characters’ material hardships. And though dreams may be shattered, hope defiantly persists.


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