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Films >> Yo, La Peor De Todas (I, The Worst of All) (1990) >>

0:02:06 Power Meeting
In 17th century Mexico, the power changes: a new Viceroy and a new Archbishop are appointed at the same time. They meet, and the Viceroy discusses the necessity of governing in harmony.  The Archbishop expresses his opinion that while Europe seems to be "infested with disbelief," Spain seems to be saved, therefore his responsibility is to "save" New Spain as well.
0:03:46 Life in the Convent
In a convent of the City of Mexico, the nuns are living a pleasant and peaceful life before the arrival of the new Archbishop.
0:04:16 Sor Juana de la Cruz' Room
In stark contrast with the gayety of the other nuns, Sor Juana is immersed in her writing, in her quiet convent room.
0:04:55 Convent Assembly
The nuns meet to discuss the state of the convent's finances that seem to have been rendered problematic because of a drought.  The Abbess also announces the intention of the new Viceroy to visit the convent and meet Sor Juana, whose writings are famous in Spain.
0:06:35 A Night at the Theater
In honor of the Viceroy and Vicereine's visit, Sor Juana presents her new play, which is acclaimed by the audience.  However, the Archbishop is appalled at the "laxity" that he notices in the convent and at the preoccupation with the mundane, at the expense of serving God. Juana meets the new rulers and both the Viceroy and the Vicereine grant her their protection.
0:09:19 Intrigue (1)
Sor Ursula, who has high aspirations for herself, visits the Archbishop with another nun.  They want to falsify the elections for the post of Abbess that will soon take place in the convent.  The Archbishop promises them material gains if they convince the other nuns to vote for Ursula, who will follow the archbishop's instructions in administering the convent.
0:12:50 Intrigue (2)
Sor Juana is summoned by Mother Leonor (the Abbess), who informs her about the intrigues that Sor Ursula is spinning  The only way out of this for the convent would be if Juana herself would run for the post of Abbess.  Juana refuses to be taken away from her intellectual pursuits, which are more important to her than anything.  She cannot abandon her work.
0:15:29 Vicereine's Visit (1)
The Vicereine visits Juana, who has to receive her in the convent locutory.  A set of bars separate the two worlds: the world of the Court, and the world of the convent.  The Vicereine points out that even apparently separated by bars, their situations are similar, as they are two women in a world ruled by men.  Juana replies that the power of spirit, of the inquisitive mind, manages to go beyond any confines.
0:18:29 Palace Life
The Viceroy, the Vicereine, the Bishop, and Professor Siguenza discuss the Archbishop's misogyny and the cruelty of the Catholic Church.  The Vicereine faints.
0:19:49 "Good News"
The doctor lets the Viceroy and the Vicereine know that the Vicereine is pregnant.
0:20:17 Juana's Confession
Sor Juana is in the confessional with Father Miranda. He's reproaching her that she lets herself be surrounded by vanities and that she forgets that she is a nun.  The priest comments on the poems that she wrote for the Vicereine, which are too impassioned to come from somebody of Juana's gender and station.  She replies that the only reason why she let herself join the convent is because Father Miranda himself convinced her that her pursuit of knowledge is not incompatible with a nun's life. Juana says that she wanted to study, so for her marriage was not an option.
0:21:48 Vicereine's Visit (2)
While Juana is studying in her library, the Vicereine comes into her room, happy that she managed to go beyond the bars of the locutory.  She comments on the "dangerous" books that Juana owns, books for which she would be killed by the Inquisition in Spain, and she warns her about the harsh rules of the Church.  They discuss motherhood, and Juana confesses that she does not feel "incomplete" as a woman without children, since she considers her books, her objects, and her writings as her children.  She acknowledges that not all women are alike, and some need solitude and silence in order to devote themselves to their work.
0:27:11 Love Poems
The Vicereine is sitting for a miniature portrait, while she is reading one of the love poems that Juana has written for her.
0:27:48 Visitors
Juana entertains visitors in the convent.  It is an assembly of men, who treat her as their intellectual equal. The Vicereine comes and brings a present for Juana: a crown, made out of quetzal feathers (the national bird of Mexico).  Juana feels honored.
0:31:51 Election Day
It is election time in the convent.  The Archbishop urges the nuns to vote "according to their conscience."  They vote.
0:32:59 New Abbess
Sor Ursula, the one who falsifies the elections, wins, and is acclaimed by the nuns.
0:33:01 Juana Can't Be Bothered
Juana is writing in her room; all the agitation surrounding the elections does not affect her.
0:33:23 New Rules
As a sign of their commitment to God, the sisters are forced by the new Abbess to renounce their worldly goods.
0:33:46 Powerful Protection
Mother Ursula urges Juana to part with some of her prized possessions, but she is saved by the Vicereine, who says that God enjoys Juana's writings more than the forced penances of the nuns.  Mother Ursula is rendered powerless and retires, while they laugh at her. The Vicereine gives Juana  the miniature portrait.
0:35:23 It's a Boy!
Juana is interrupted form her writing in the middle of the night by the nuns' joy at the birth of a son to the Viceroy and the Vicereine. Her first concern is whether the mother is safe.  When she hears that the Vicereine is out of danger, she starts praying.
0:37:18 Juana's Story
The Vicereine brings her son to the convent.  She talks to Juana, who tells her a story from her youth, when she was a lady-in-waiting at the court of a previous Vicereine.  Juana had tried to go to the university, but she was not accepted because she was a woman. The former Vicereine had arranged for a group of professors from the University of Mexico to examine Juana.
0:38:49 Examination
Juana is examined by various professors, and she answers every question correctly. The men applaud her.
0:41:49 The Kiss (1)
One of the examiners follows Juana and kisses her.  After initiating another kiss, Juana says that she will remember what a kiss means, and leaves.
0:42:48 Domestic Scene
The Vicereine is playing with her (now grown) son, and she listens to her husband reading one of Juana's love poems addressed to her.
0:42:58 More Intrigue
While Juana is singing in the choir, her manuscripts are being secretly copied by nuns.
0:45:45 The Condemnation
The Archbishop, Professor Siguenza, the Bishop, Father Miranda, and other clerics are examining the copies of Juana's manuscripts.  With the exception of Miranda and Siguenza, all the others accuse her poems for the Vicereine of "depravity," "perversity," and "morbid sensuality."
0:48:01 Locked Out
While Juana is in the convent yard, her room is sealed by the order of the Archbishop.  Mother Ursula explains that she has been denied access to her books.  Juana is angry and says that nothing and nobody can keep her from studying. She suddenly collapses.
0:51:42 Infirmary
Juana is in the convent's infirmary and talks to Father Miranda, who warns her about her "amorous excesses" with the Vicereine.  He tells her that there is no place in the world for such unnatural feelings, much less in a convent.  He also warns her against her thirst for knowledge, that seems to stem from the Devil.
0:53:05 Battle of Wills
The Viceroy tells the archbishop that his power, as the representative of the King, is greater than the power of the Church.  He orders the Archbishop to open Juana's room.
0:54:49 The Kiss (2)
The Vicereine warns Juana that she will be protected only as long as she is Vicereine.  She also wants to see Juana without her veil, and she kisses her, to keep her memory alive.
0:58:02 The Miniature
Juana looks for the miniature portrait that she got from the Vicereine and hangs it around her neck.
0:58:55 Censorship
Father Miranda censors books and gives a writer the authorization to publish only after he read and changed the offending or dangerous parts.  A package comes from the archbishop, containing the book of his favorite theologian: an essay by Vieyra.  Professor Siguenza comes here to read forbidden books.  When he tries to steal one, Miranda takes it away from him and throws it in a corner with other dangerous texts.
1:01:00 Bad News
The Viceroy gives the Vicereine the news that he was dismissed and that they have to return to Spain.
1:01:40 Music Class
Juana teaches her students to seek knowledge.  She tells them that the intellectual pursuits are not for men alone; they should follow them as well.  She is interrupted by a nun who brings the order of the Abbess to make the students sing.  The Viceroy comes to see Juana and to give her the news of  their imminent departure to Spain.  Juana is dismayed.  He also warns her that she will not have his protection any more.
1:05:27 Manuscripts
Juana supervises the wrapping of her manuscripts.  She is giving them to the Vicereine who will publish them  in Spain.
1:06:27 Burning Books
Father Miranda burns all the offending and dangerous books.
1:07:03 Meeting
The new Viceroy summons Siguenza and the Bishop of Santa Cruz for a meeting.  He asks for advice in order to curtail the power of the Archbishop, that seems to have gone out of hand. The Bishop has an idea.
1:08:57 The Treacherous Bishop
Juana writes a theological essay, in response to the one by Vieyra. She reads it to the Bishop, who compliments her. Because she does not want to have problems with the Inquisition, Juana asks the Bishop not to publish the pamphlet.  The Bishop promises her not to, but only to circulate it in a small circle. Juana gets the news that her mother is dying.
1:11:25 On the Way Home
Juana is on her way to see her dying mother.
1:11:54 Mother and Daughter
Juana talks with her mother, who asks her why she became a nun, since she is not happy.  Juana replies that convent was the only alternative to marriage and subjection to a man, which would not have allowed her to continue her work.  Flashback to little Juana and her study aspirations.
1:13:49 Question
Juana asks her mother who her father was.  Her mother whispers something to her.
1:14:32 Dead
Juana's mother is dead.
1:14:49 Good Bye
Juana's servant from the convent asks her to let her stay in the village with her family.  Juana says good bye.
1:15:34 Mad
The Archbishop is furious because Juana's theological essay has been published.  Professor Siguanza tries to defend her and reads him a few passages.  In an outburst of fury, the Archbishop hits him.
1:16:59 Back
Juana returns to the convent alone, where Mother Leonor wants to see her immediately.
1:17:40 Danger
Juana finds out that her essay was published, and Mother Leonor warns her about the danger of her endeavor.  She also tells her that a nun named Filotea de la Cruz addressed a letter to Juana as the prologue of the book, a letter that condemns Juana and her intellectual pursuits.
1:19:11 Traitor
Siguenza accuses the Bishop of betraying Juana by publishing the essay.  The Bishop does not want to compromise his relations with the Church, so he cannot intervene in behalf of Juana.
1:19:49 Defense
Juana composes her defense (Respuesta), explaining that her thirst for knowledge is an impulse that she was born with, therefore God-given, and that she cannot stop or repress it.
1:21:12 Meeting Face to Face
The Archbishop comes to see her in the convent locutory. He refuses to read her defense, and he asks her to stop writing. She accuses Father Miranda for advising her to take the veil in order to be able to write. She becomes enraged at realizing that if she had not been a woman, nobody would have reacted in such a way to the essay she wrote. In her rage, she catches the Archbishop from behind the bars, and she touches him by force, knowing how averse he is to women. Miranda asks her to find another confessor.
1:25:30 Mother Leonor Dies
Mother Leonor dies and the nuns hold a wake.
1:26:34 Spain
Siguenza is in Spain, and he visits the former Vicereine of Mexico.  He tells her about the problems in the New World: floods, famine, plague, and a revolt. The Vicereine tells him that she had the first volume of Juana's writings published, and she gives him a copy to take to Juana.
1:28:41 Plague
The nuns become contaminated with the plague.  Juana helps the healthy ones take care of the sick.
1:30:48 Death
Rows of dead nuns are taken by the undertakers and put on a cart.
1:31:35 Sadness
Juana is in her room, tired, when the bell rings, announcing a visitor.
1:31:50 Siguenza
Siguenza gives her the copy of her works.  She is very depressed to hear about the death of the former Viceroy.
1:34:05 Change
Father Miranda visits the convent, and he finds Juana scrubbing the floors.  He expresses the hope that Juana has changed and is more humble and religious.  Juana asks for help, and Miranda offers to be her confessor again.
1:35:11 Prayer
The nuns hold a prayer march to supplicate God to save the country from the misfortunes that befell it.
1:35:47 Confession (1)
Juana repents in front of Father Miranda and says she is afraid of not knowing what God wants from her.
1:37:11 Self Penance
The nuns whip themselves and pray for the deliverance of Mexico.
1:37:48 Confession (2)
Miranda tell Juana that she loved the Vicereine too much, and that is an infidelity to the Divine Spouse.
1:38:38 Prayer
The nuns pray again.
1:38:46 Penance
Juana receives her penance: to part with all her worldly goods and her memories.
1:40:26 Renunciation
Juana's books and objects are taken away from her.  She reluctantly parts with the quetzal feather crown that she received from the Vicereine.
1:41:50 Abjuration
In the convent assembly, Juana reads her apology and defense, signing it (as a token of her honesty and repentance) in her own blood, after she breaks her glasses.
1:43:57 Nothing Left
In her empty room, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz sits near the window.
1:45:03 Afterword
"Sister Juana Inez de la Cruz died shortly after of the plague.  Today she is considered one of the greatest poets of the Golden Age."