The Dark Night (La noche oscura)

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Pantheon filmmaker Carlos Saura bounced back from a handful of failures with 1989's La Noche Oscura (The Dark Night). Juan Diego stars as San Juan de la Cruz (St. John of the Cross), the legendary 16th-century poet-prophet. Galvanized into action by the spirit of Santa Teresa de Jesus, San Juan fought to install reforms in the Carmelite Order. Like many another visionary, he was regarded as a heretic, and promptly subjected to the most appalling of tortures. Writer-director Saura manages to draw several parallels between the religious persecution of the 1700s and the political despotism of Fascist Spain. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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