Roland Joffe, the director who brought us the highly acclaimed and deeply spiritual film The Mission has returned to his roots with the epic movie There Be Dragons, a powerful story of war, tragedy, love and redemption. Set during the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War (1930s), it tells the story of two childhood friends who become separated during the political conflict to find themselves on opposite sides as war erupts. One chooses the path of peace and becomes a priest while the other chooses the life of a soldier driven by jealousy and revenge. Each will struggle to find the power of forgiveness over the forces that tore their lives and friendship apart. [official synopsis]
Trailer and behind-the-scenes video below
Charlie Cox (Stardust) - Josemaría Escrivá
Wes Bentley (The Claim) - Manolo
Olga Kurylenko (Centurion) - Ildiko
Rodrigo Santoro (Love Actually) - Oriol
Dougray Scott (Ever After) - Robert, son of Manolo
Geraldine Chaplin, Derek Jacobi , Charles Dance, Michael Feast, Lily Cole, Golshifteh Farahani, Robert Blythe
The film is both written and directed by Oscar-nominated British filmmaker Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields, The Mission, City of Joy, The Scarlet Letter). Joffe said that it's a " story about people trying to find meaning about their lives." The epic film tells the story of a present-day Spanish journalist, Robert, who is mending relations with his dying father, Manolo, who took part in the Spanish Civil War. The journalist discovers through his investigations that his father was a close childhood friend of Josemaría Escrivá , a candidate for sainthood, with whom he had a complicated relationship. Manolo became a soldier during the Spanish Civil War and became obsessed with a beautiful Hungarian revolutionary, Ildiko. She rejects him and gives herself to a brave militia leader Oriol. Manolo becomes jealous and takes a path of betrayal.
The film includes the early life of Josemaría Escrivá, a modern-day saint and the founder of Opus Dei, an institution of the Catholic Church which teaches that ordinary human life is a path to sanctity. Escrivá, who died in 1975, was canonized by John Paul II in 2002. Joffé, who initially shied away from the project, was "ultimately intrigued by the chance to dramatize the life of a modern-day saint, particularly considering Escrivá's 'liberating' view that a path to God could be found in an ordinary life."
According to Joffé, they are "making a film about love, human love and divine love, about hate, about betrayal, about war, about mistakes, about everything it is to be a human being." "Reconciliation matters" is the main take away message that Joffe expects from the viewers and that this is “a film about what it means to be a saint in this day and age."
Why the title? It refers to its theme exploring the unknown territories of hatred, guilt, and forgiveness explained producer Ignacio G. Sancha. "There be dragons" is an abbreviation of "here there be dragons" from the Latin hic sunt dracones, an ancient way of denoting in maps a place where there is danger, or an unknown place, a place to be explored.