Bless Me, Ultima *** (PG-13) If you’re in a leisurely mood, this quiet little drama may pleasantly surprise you with how much it covers. The events occur in a small, mostly Hispanic New Mexican village during WW II. The focus is the coming-of-age tale of young Antonio, who is fascinated by the old woman - allegedly a bruja (witch) - who comes to stay with his family. Dad is waiting the return of his three older sons from the War, so they can all move to the greater opportunities of California. But before then, some things occur which sharply divide the locals over their deeply-held Catholic beliefs and the possible good or dubious powers of the old woman.
The tale unfolds as a thoughtful reminiscence, narrated by Antonio’s adult self. What happens is less important than the feel of the time and setting. Anonymous little lives in the middle of the desert, home to a few who scratch out meager livelihoods while maintaining long-held traditions of community and faith. This is one to contemplate and discuss afterwards. (2/22/13)