The following comes from an October 30 story on the website of the Catholic News Agency.
A new movie based on the real-life story of a 15-year-old boy who became a source of joy to those around him – despite dying from cancer – recently debuted at the Vatican.
The film Cambio de Planes, directed by Mexico native Paco Arango, was released in the country on Oct. 26 and, following its success, premiered Monday at the Vatican….
The movie, which means “change of plans” in Spanish, recounts the experience of its director with children suffering from cancer at the Niño Jesús Hospital of Madrid, which he first visited years ago.
There he met 15-year-old Antonio, “who shared with his powerful faith in God, inspiring him to direct this fascinating movie that – in his own words – can do much good.”
The film’s producer said if the film is successful in its limited release, it will be shown on a greater number of screens throughout Mexico.
Earlier in May, Paco Arango granted an interview with the Archdiocese of Madrid’s magazine, Alfa y Omega, in which he recounted the origins of the film.
“Sometime in 2000 or 2001, I would have lunch with a priest on the first Tuesday of every month, and I asked him to help me find something I could donate my time to, not just my money.
After thinking about it, I contacted a foundation that works with the Niño Jesús (Baby Jesus) Hospital and began to help out there as a volunteer.”
“When I saw the first child vomit, instead of feeling like leaving, I was drawn to his bedside like a magnet. I began to go from room to room, and I discovered there was a whole new world there,” Arango said.
“All of that began taking over my life little by little. By the second year, I was going there every day, even on weekends.”
After volunteering for several years, the filmmaker decided to begin his own organization, the Aladina Foundation, in 2006. Various experiences led him to believe he should continue his service at the hospital, including one time when he attended a U2 concert in Madrid in which the band’s lead singer, Bono, dedicated a song to the Niño Jesús Hospital.
“At that second, the entire stadium began to shout, ‘Niño Jesús, Niño Jesús!.’ It was a sign for me. God was telling me not to leave the hospital,” Arango remembered.
Recalling the inspiration for the film, Arango said he met Antonio four years ago.
“He was a child who seemed to have overcome cancer,” he said. “The Foundation was in full swing, and so I decided to make a movie inspired by him about my experiences in the hospital, a place where one might want to curse God, but where I discovered what charity and love is, and where I learned what life is all about.”
“When I wrote the script, it seemed Antonio was going to survive,” Arango said. However, “In the end, Antonio died of a virus. He composed a song that was prophetic, in which he described himself as the voice of children with cancer and in which he shared his faith in God.”
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What a wonderful, true life story. The film sounds like a “must see,” and it is wonderful to know the Vatican thought so too.
I look forward to seeing this film. The writer/director seems like such a caring, authentic person. This is a true artist; a gifted person that has an honest story to share that honors God and his people, bringing truth and beauty into the viewer’s heart. When I think of the truly great artists of the past, whatever the medium, they invariably create moving work about what is true, what is beautiful, what brings awareness, understanding and love, even if it’s sad, or dealing with dark things that feeds our souls.
I am grateful that more good movies are being produced. I would definitely enjoy watching this movie if given the chance to.
“If given the chance to” is correct. Unfortunately most of the good movies are limited showings! They are worth spending some gas to see!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
The new movie on St. Augustine is playing here in town on Monday! I hope this happens more often. I heard that the local seminary now has more Catholic students than their protestant counterparts and that the Cardinal Newman society is the largest student group! (the organization here is very orthodox, unlike some others I’ve heard about) Pretty amazing what’s happening in what was once a bastion of protestantism.
Dana, you say protestant like its a bad thing. They too have strong devotion to the same God, they attend their liturgies(those that have them) or what ever form of worship they prefer. Some even believe that the bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Christ, the true presence. I just don’t think it is a bad thing when a local church can fill up with six thousand people every Sunday. I wish we could evangelize that well. Maybe the New Evangelization programs that each diocese must prepare and carry out will help. Our church teaches that people of good will can go to heaven, so its not like we are an exclusive club.
Local stadiums fill up with 30 thousand to 50 thousand baseball fans nightly. Football gets a hundred thousand in the bleachers at times. Bob One, a gathering of a few thousand people is not a big deal … check out your local shopping mall on sunday and see.
Bob One, your extreme simplisticism … “our Church teaches that people of good will go to Heaven” … well, you remind me of that movie from long ago, Frankenstein, where they examine the brain that will go into the monster, and note that compared to a normal brain with many ripples, it has few.
The Film “Restless Heart” was amazing! Praise to the nuns of St. Paul for making a screening possible in Redwood City. It was sold out–every seat–even the very first row was taken.