The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Synopsis: In early 18th century Peru an old Inca rope bridge collapses, plunging five travelers to their deaths in the Andean chasm below. Brother Juniper, who was within minutes of being on the bridge himself, becomes obsessed with discovering how five people of differing class and circumstances came to be on the bridge at that moment. The Catholic friar wants to know if it was mere existential happenstance or part of God's cosmic plan. After researching the lives of the victims for five years and publishing his findings in a book, he is accused of heresy by the worldly Archbishop of Lima and is put on trial for his life by the Inquisition.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Mary McGuckian
Production: Fine Line Features
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
120 min

If there were any plan in the universe...

...any pattern to human life...

...surely it could be discovered

mysteriously latent... those lives so suddenly cut off.

Either we live by accident...

...and die by accident...

...or we live by plan...

...and die by plan.

The day of the funeral,

all Lima was in a state of a trance.

The bodies of the victims

had been approximately collected, but...

...only approximately separated.

It was a great service...

...and a resolute rendering of hearts

among soul-searchers.

There but for the grace of God.

Why did this happen to those five?

Why not me?

On Friday at noon,

the finest bridge in all Peru broke...

...and precipitated five travelers...

...into the gulf below.

We have all of us,

since we have heard of the accident...

...made the...

the sign of the cross...

...and a mental calculation... to how recently

we had crossed by it...

...and how soon we had intended

crossing by it again.

We live in a country, in a place...

...where catastrophes,

which are shockingly called acts of God...

...are more than usually frequent.

Tidal waves

have washed away entire cities.

Earthquakes arrive every week

in some parts...

...and diseases are forever flitting

in and out of the provinces.

Old age carries away

some of our most admirable citizens...

...and towers fall

on good men and women all the time.

But we have all of us been

deeply impressed...

...and especially touched... the rent

in the bridge of San Luis Rey.

The bridge seemed to be

among the things that would last forever.

It was unthinkable

that it should just... break.

We've all had hallucinations

of ourselves...

...falling into that gulf.

Within ten minutes... myself.

It would have been me.

So I resolved to inquire into the

secret lives of those five persons...

...falling through the air at that moment...

...and to surprise the reasons

of theirtaking off.

For six years,

I knocked on all the doors in Lima...

...asked hundreds of questions...

...cataloging thousands of little facts

and anecdotes and testimonies... accurately as I could.

The result, as we know,

was this torrid testament... heretical in title as in content.

Sheer treachery.

It's but a book of findings.

Nothing more sinister.

The mere facts of these five lonely lives

so tragically cut off.

So, we may never know

their central passions...

...and you, who claim to have inquired

after every detail of their existences...

...isn't it possible that even you have

missed the very spring within the well?

If you'll permit, what I wrote down were

the particulars of these precious portraits.

I began in the Franciscan reading room

at San Martin...

...with a book that is bound

between two great wooden covers.

It was there that I came upon

the only copy of the volumes of letters...

...from the Marquesa de Montemayor... her daughter, Doa Clara.

I will write often.

I will write every day, my love.

And when my little daughter

has a little...

It must take

six months at least, Marquesa... receive an answer

to one's letter from Spain.

Left alone in Lima...

...the Marquesa's life grew

more and more inward.

So necessary was it for her love...

...that she attract the admiration

of herdistant child...

...she existed entirely

in the endless dialogues...

...that evidence hereccentricities

in her many letters to Spain.

"Rest easy, my love.

I am sending His Most Catholic Majesty

the perfect gold chain.

He need never know

that in orderto obtain it...

...I had to walk into a picture.

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Mary McGuckian

Mary McGuckian (born 27 May 1963) is a film director, producer and screenwriter from Northern Ireland. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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