ROMERO (1989)

Scene Log

-- approximate times given are marked from the beginning of the film not the video tape --

0:00:00  Presidential Candidate’s Speech
Presidential candidate in large courtyard in San Salvador makes promises that this election will not
be corrupt as others in the past have been.

0:01:43  Romero Voices Concerns
Military is present at Aguilares as Salvadorans arriving on buses vote in ballot boxes at the market.
Salvadorans are telling stories about the government taking land from them.  Romero asks Grande if he wants to be a subversive agitator by putting up with that type of conversation.  (1:04:47)  A messenger comes to tell them that the road is being blocked by the military.

0:05:00  First Confrontation With Columa
A crowded bus is stopped at a roadblock by soldiers who fire warning shots into the cab.  Military board the bus and tell them they cannot proceed because guerillas are attempting to sabotage the election. (0:05:50)  Father Grande, Morantes, Osuna, and Romero arrive in a jeep, Romero stays in the car while Grande confronts lieutenant Columa who claims that guerilla snipers threaten the safety of the voters.  Grande leads the people to walk to Aguilares.  Columa refuses to go with them to protect them.  As they leave Columa orders his troops to shoot and destroy the bus.  Romero follows Grande after sheepishly avoiding Columa.

0:08:30  The Walk to Aguilares
The group walks along a dirt road.  Grande speaks with Father Osuna and Father Morantes of the
country’s situation.  Osuna and Morantes tell Grande he should be appointed Archbishop and voice their doubts about the backbone of Romero.

0:09:42   Romero Hears of His Appointment
Romero in his domicile, tired after the long walk, examines his broken shoes.  A bishop enters and tells him that he’s been appointed Archbishop.  Romero says that he is not qualified and others won’t support him.  He does not know what God wants him to do.

0:11:20  Bishops Reveal Motivations
Two bishops discuss the appointment of Romero as being the “compromise” choice for the church and the government.  They think that he is a bookworm who will not stir up controversy.  They also suppose that his health is not good and he won’t last.

0:12:00  Romero is Installed as Archbishop
Church ceremony in the cathedral appointing Romero Archbishop.  He speaks saying that the church should stay in the center and not create political conflict.  Present are all the wealthy of El Salvador as well as Grande, Osuna, and Morantes.  (0:14:00)  Romero greets the wealthy attendees of the ceremony.  The president elect says he wants to work closely with the church.  Others offer gifts and acts of kindness.  (0:15:15)  Romero steps outside with a close friend who gives him the present he really needs,  new shoes.  Greets Father Grande and they are in good spirits.

0:16:25  Massacre by the Military
Father Grande and other priests giving communion to a large, celebratory crowd in the public courtyard from the opening scene.  The military arrives in large numbers and orders the crowd to disperse, then shortly opens fire on them killing many as they run.

0:19:40  Party of the Aristocracy
Lieutenant Columa at a party with Colonel Dorio who tells him that they need to work together to protect their interests.  Arista Zelada takes Columa out to meet Romero who gives a look of recognition.

0:21:20  Grande Takes a Stand
Father Grande enters and tells Romero of the massacre as the rest of the party listens in.  70 are dead in the street.  Grande says goodbye because he is going back to Aguilares to be with the people who need him.  He chastises the government for labeling anyone who speaks his or her mind as a communist.

0:23:00  Romero Views the Scene of the Massacre
Romero is at the scene of the massacre and sees all the death.  He kneels next to a woman mourning a dead man.

0:23:30  Bishop Conference Tones Down Statement
All the Salvadoran Bishops in conference going over a statement from the church about the massacre.  They all vote that it may be seen as inflammatory and decide to re-write it and tone it down.

0:25:00  Grande is Murdered
Father Grande is baptizing babies in an Agilares church.  (0:25:30)  Grande is out on the road in a jeep driving children and elderly people.  A truck tailgates, blowing its horn while men come out from the side off the road with machine guns.  The assassins shoot at the car killing Grande, an old man and a child. The assassins approach the overturned car and tell the three surviving children to run a way as they shoot Grande with a pistol to make sure he is dead.

0:28:15  Romero Hears of Grande’s Murder
Romero is playing doctor with children when he receives the call telling him of Father Grande’s
assassination.  He is speechless.

0:29:40  Viewing of the Bodies
That night Romero arrives in Agilares to the scene of many mourning the three victims who are laid out in public under a pavilion.  Father Morantes says that Romero should speak–Romero seems timid.  A man comes looking for his child who he then sees is one of the three dead.  Romero decides to have one mass for the entire country at the cathedral where these three will be in public for all to see.

0:33:05   Bishops Urge Against a Central Mass
In a meeting with the other bishops, one of whom is in military attire, the majority opinion is that a central mass for the country has never been done before and that it shouldn’t.  They claim that the church should be a stabilizing factor and shouldn’t take political sides.

0:34:00  Romero Asks Advice from Lucia
Romero walks around the cathedral halls in thought and comes upon Lucia who is part of the diocese at Aguilares.  He asks for her advice concerning Father Grande’s assassination.  She tells him that she feels that the church must take a stand so she has something to believe in.

0:35:55  Romero Speaks Out Against the Murders
Salvadorans are shown listening on the radio as Romero speaks at the central mass.  He delivers a heartfelt speech at the cathedral calling out for the murderers to repent.

0:37:20  Romero Views Missing Persons’ Files
Romero looks at a man’s photo album containing pictures of a missing son while many others wait in line with pictures.  A bulletin board of pictures of missing people is shown.

0:38:35  Rafael Zelada is Kidnapped
Arista Zelada, carrying her baby, gives Romero a note and tells him that her husband, Minister of
Agriculture Rafael Zelada, has been kidnapped by guerillas and that Romero is part of the ransom.

0:39:45  Osuna and Morantes Refuse to Help
Romero asks Osuna and Morantes for their help in finding Zelada.  They refuse saying that they can’t.  Romero asks, “can’t, or won’t."

0:40:45  Romero Meets With Guerrillas
Romero in an infirmary, a man approaches him and tells him something, presumably where to meet the kidnappers.  (0:41:15)  Romero in the street at night in street  clothes is picked up by a minibus with masked guerrillas inside.  Romero pleads for the release of Zelada but the guerrillas say they will only release him if political prisoners are released by the government.  (0:43:00)  The guerrillas drop Romero off in a shanty town filled with garbage in the pouring rain so he can see how the people are living.  He sees the  worst of imaginable living conditions.

0:44:00  Romero Seeks a Meeting with the President
At the president’s building the President’s aide claims that the President is out.  Romero gives him a note for the president and waits in the front room.

0:45:11  Arista Zelada Drops Off the Ransom Money
Arista Zelada in a junkyard of old cars drops off her husband’s ransom money in a leather bag.

0:46:00  Romero is Ignored by the President
Romero has waited all day but the President never sees him.  Romero receives only a note that says “There are no political prisoners.”

0:46:40  Romero Tries to Comfort Arista Zelada
Arista and Romero at the Zelada house.  Arista has heard no word from the kidnappers and desperately wants her husband back.  She claims that Romero is now only sympathetic to the poor and the radicals who have taken Rafael.

0:48:17  Arista’s Father Challenges Romero’s Convictions
Arista’s father enters deploring Arista for giving ransom money and saying that if the kidnappers hurt
Rafael that he will bring in the military.  He chastises Romero and says that the church is a whore for the highest bidder.

0:50:00  Rafael Zelada’s Body Is Found
At a landfill there are children scavenging who come across the dead body of Rafael Zelada.  (0:50:40)  Romero and others arrive to take the body.  Arista mourns him in a nearby car; her father blames Romero.

0:51:50  Romero and Villez Rescue Osuna from Columa
At night, Romero is in his room and hears a knock.  Romero and Father Villez drive to get Father Osuna from the government. They arrive at a guarded gate to a government building.  (0:52:55)  Inside they see Osuna in bad shape.  Osuna admits to helping to kidnap Zelada and that the military tortured him using electricity.  (0:54:35)  Columa enters and says he will not release Osuna.  Romero shouts that he never had the right to take him and torture him in the first place.  They leave with Osuna.

0:55:35  Romero Confronts the President
Romero and Villez walk into the president’s building past the secretary and into his luncheon.  The
president tells Romero that priests should stay out of politics.  Romero says he will not attend the
President’s upcoming inauguration because the violence must stop.  The President says he has occupied the church at Agilares and that Grande was a subversive communist.  Romero calls him a liar.

0:58:30  The Bishops Boycott the President’s Inauguration
Meeting of the bishops.  One bishop says that they all should go to the inauguration despite Romero’s opinion.  Some usual dissenters decide to side with Romero, and they vote not to go.

1:00:16  The Military Takes Control of Aguilares
In Aguilares the military arrests many people including Lucia as they take over to occupy the church.

1:01:25  Romero Retakes the Church at Aguilares
Romero arrives in Aguilares to see the military occupying the church.  He enters to take away the
Eucharist, but the commanding officer shoots and destroys it and tells Romero to leave.  Romero walks out to his car but turns and goes back in the church where he begins picking up the pieces of the Eucharist.  The commander shoots rounds just over Romero to scare him and has his men throw Romeo out.  Romero gets in the car and leaves.  (1:05:00)  Romero turns the car back around and puts on his robes.  He walks back in to the church followed by Osuna, Morantes and the entire town.  The soldiers back down.  (1:07:16)  In the church they have now retaken, Romero echoes the words of Grande speaking to the people of Aguilares that they must retake the church–that they are what is important.

1:08:10  Arista Zelada Feels Deserted by Romero
Romero is busy with children in the halls of the cathedral.  (1:08:30)  Arista Zelada alone with Romero requests a private baptism for her child, but Romero refuses saying he can’t make exceptions from the public baptisms that everyone else gets.  She doesn’t want to be involved with the lower class people and tells Romero that he has deserted her.

1:10:10  Osuna Affirms His Support for Romero
Osuna comes to the confession booth of the cathedral and confesses to Romero that he had doubted and deplored Romero, but now he wants to say he was wrong.

1:13:00  Romero Calls for an End to Persecution
Romero addresses the country on the radio taking the side of the people and calling for a stop to
persecution.  He says that the church must be incarnated in the people that fight for freedom.

1:12:55  Lucia is Abducted
Armed men take Lucia from her home in the night.

1:13:30  Dorio Warns Romero of Danger
Romero looks troubled as he sings with nuns.  Out in the cathedral Colonel Dorio awaits him in a pew.  In their conversation Dorio tells him that Romero is losing the people who support him in running the country.  Romero says that is not his job; his job is to protect the people.  Dorio asks him to stop the wild talk.

1:16:15  Romero Speaks Against U.S. Aid to El Salvador
In a speech at the cathedral Romero announces that he has written to the U.S. government to stop sending arms down to El Salvador because they are only used to kill the Salvadoran people.

1:16:40  Lucia is Murdered
Lucia, looking as if beaten badly, is shot and killed in a landfill.

1:17:35  Romero Negotiates a Hostage Situation
Romero awakes from a nightmare and then hears a knock.  He drives with Villez to a hostage situation in a church at which his presence has been requested.  (1:18:35)  Romero makes a deal with the military commander that if he can bring out the hostage and get  the kidnappers to lay down their arms nobody will be arrested.  (1:20:20)  Romero enters the church to see Osuna and Morantes among the kidnappers.  They tell him that they want a new government and that Lucia was raped and her tongue was cut out before she was killed.  Romero pleads to them that someone must say “enough.”  Romero gives them his word ensuring his deal with the commander and they agree to lay down their arms.

1:23:00  Columa Negates Romero’s Deal and Arrests Him
Romero leads the guerillas out of the church to see Columa now present.  Columa claims the deal was not valid and has everyone arrested including Romero.

1:24:25  Romero Toils in his Cell
Romero and Osuna are in cells next to each other.  Romero listens and cries out for mercy as he hears Osuna being tortured.  Romero repeats, “we’re human beings!”

1:26:30  Dorio Tells Romero He Can No Longer Protect Him
Dorio and Romero meet in Dorio's office.  Dorio tells Romero that he should fear for his life because he can’t protect him anymore.  Romero tells him that he won’t leave without Osuna and the others.

1:28:00  Osuna Has Been Killed by the Military
The truck waiting at the gates to take Romero away also bears the body of Osuna.  Villez embraces
Romero.

1:28:40  Morantes and Romero Argue the Use of Violence
In a meeting with an armed Morantes, Romero begs him not to take up arms.  Morantes claims he is defending himself,but Romero tells him that with his gun he is attacking.  Romero says that Morantes is perpetuating class warfare and that he too will lose God.

1:31:15  Romero Visits Grande’s Grave
Romero visits the grave of Father Grande and asks God, “I can’t, you must. I’m yours. Show me the way.”

1:32:50  Romero Stands Up to the Military
Romero is strip-searched by the military as he walks into an occupied village.  The people beg him to be their voice, and he begins a mass outside as the military walks away.

1:35:25  Columa Speaks to Aristocrats
Columa speaks to the wealthy Salvadorans and tells them that they were the pioneers of the country and that they deserve the riches of the land like the North Americans.  He is justifying the military actions against the guerillas.

1:36:05  Romero Immerses Himself in the Cause
Romero’s speech is heard as he is shown looking at pictures of missing persons. Scenes of Salvadorans at work in fields.

1:36:35  Columa Preaches Propaganda
Columa preaches propaganda on television. Children walking to school stare at a dead girl lying naked in the street.

1:37:00  Romero Speaks to El Salvador Over Radio
Romero speaks on the radio as Columa and Arista’s father are at a country club guarded by the military.  Morantes listens from Aguilares.

1:37:40  Romero Appeals to the Military
At a cathedral mass Romero appeals to the military to realize that they are people just as the rest of the population.  Scenes flash on the screen of pictures of dead and missing people.  Columa is shown with assassins loading clips.  Romero calls for a stop to the repression.

1:39:00  Romero is Murdered
Assassins drive to the back of a church, and one walks in as Romero is running a mass.  Romero is
assassinated as he raises a cup of wine at the altar.  (1:40:00)  These words appear over a frozen frame at the murder scene: “Archbishop Romero was murdered on March 24, 1980.  He had spoken the disturbing truth.  Many chose not to listen.  As a result, between 1980 and 1989, 60,000 Salvadorans were killed.  But the struggle for peace and freedom, justice and dignity goes on.”

1:41:00  Romero’s Voice Lives On
Salvadorans are shown walking through the streets while Romero’s voice speaks of his inevitable sacrifice for the people.  He says that from his blood will arise a seed of hope in the people and will never perish.

Credits
 
 

Copyright (c) 1999 by Nathan Henry Laver, Undergraduate at Lehigh University.

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