Review: ‘The Last Summit’

Wittily defining itself as "the only film to speak well about priests," "The Last Summit" is a real oddity. Basically an attempt to build a personality cult around Pablo Dominguez, a cleric who died in 2009 while descending a Spanish mountain, docu has become a B.O. phenomenon at home since its early June release, garnering 80,000 admissions. Though Dominguez was clearly a remarkable man, the film overdoes it by representing him as a virtual saint, and is basically a slice of charged Catholic propaganda. Offshore believers anxious for a feel-good moment during these troubled times could attend "Summit."

Wittily defining itself as “the only film to speak well about priests,” “The Last Summit” is a real oddity. Basically an attempt to build a personality cult around Pablo Dominguez, a cleric who died in 2009 while descending a Spanish mountain, docu has become a B.O. phenomenon at home since its early June release, garnering 80,000 admissions. Though Dominguez was clearly a remarkable man, the film overdoes it by representing him as a virtual saint, and is basically a slice of charged Catholic propaganda. Offshore believers anxious for a feel-good moment during these troubled times could attend “Summit.”

Helmer Juan Manuel Cotelo talks earnestly to the camera about how he came under Dominguez’s spell shortly before the charismatic priest and theologian’s death. Rest of the docu is mostly video and sound clips of Dominguez and plenty of talking heads, including the priest’s parents, a couple of cute kids, senior Catholics and a surreal singing priest, all zealously discussing what an incredible guy he was — spiritual, intellectual and sexy, too. (One commentator inadvertently reveals pic’s ideological core by saying Dominguez “never rejected anyone for being homosexual.”) After an hour, eulogy fatigue sets in. Driving rock music make things feel modernish, but slushy strings are never far away.

The Last Summit

Spain

Production

A European Dreams Factory release of an Infinito Mas Uno production. (International sales: European Dreams Factory, Seville.) Produced by Manuel de Cominges, Antonio Torres, Javier de Silos. Directed, written by Juan Manuel Cotelo.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Cotelo; editor, Alexis Martinez; art director, Raul E. Recuero; sound (Dolby Digital), Inigo Guerrero. Reviewed at Cine Palafox, Madrid, June 29, 2010. Running time: 82 MIN.
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