The film Bless Me Ultima is based on a novel by acclaimed author Rudolfo Anaya about a young boy and the enigmatic healer who opens his eyes to the wonders of the spiritual realm. A drama set in New Mexico during WWII. The story centers on the relationship between the young man and the elderly medicine woman, Ultima (Miriam Colon), who helps him contend with the battle between good and evil that rages in his village.
Antonio (Luke Ganalon) life is forever changed by Ultima’s sudden arrival and her supernatural healing powers. Ultima comes to his family on a mission of kindness and then inspires him to question authority and see the world from a new perspective. The young boy witnesses a series of seemingly impossible events that have a profound impact on his concepts of divinity and fate.
Through Ultima’s gentle guidance and support, Antonio faces his uncertainties and learns to go on with life. Antonio’s parents are opposites, his father being a Marez, people of the llano (the desert land in New Mexico), and his mother being a Luna, farmers and people of the moon and the earth. His father wants Antonio to grow up free to roam the land and become a vaquero, as he once was. His mother wants Antonio to be a priest, a man of learning. Antonio is torn between them regarding his future.
Throughout the story, Antonio also faces confusion over religion and spirituality. Ultima believes in God, but she also believes and works magic. But there is no evil in Ultima and Antonio is confused over Catholicism. His mother wants him to become a priest, and though he does believe in God, he wants understanding from Him, answers to his many questions.
From a very young age, Antonio witnesses death. Death of a war-crazed man, Lupito. Death of a good family friend, Narcisco. And finally the unjust death of Ultima, killed by an evil man vowing revenge on Ultima for the death of his two daughters who were brujas (witches).
Director: Director: Carl Franklin
Year of Release: 2013
Character to watch: Luke Ganalon as Antonio.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?