The power of film: surprise Spanish hit “La última cima” (The Last Summit)

Filed in Arts by on September 15, 2014 6 Comments

Imagine a film about a priest that’s a box-office knock-out, a cinema success that outsells Harry Potter. Now imagine this priest is neither a Pope nor a celebrity nor a cause of scandal, but simply a good, ordinary diocesan priest. Fantasy? Nope. Simply fact.

In 2010, “La última cima” (The Last Summit) a documentary about a real-life priest, Father Pablo Domínguez Prieto, was screened in just 4 cinemas in Spain. Within less than a week, due to popular demand, it was being shown in 50 – and then it went global, being in demand in more than 100 countries.

It won a Goya – Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars – for best documentary, yet was made on a shoestring budget. More impressive than all of this were the conversions: people wrote in their droves to the film’s director, Juan Manuel Cotelo, to say they’d left the cinema in tears, that they’d had returned to Church after lengthy lapses, that they’d repaired failing marriages, baptised their children, or even sought the help of a priest to confess a past abortion.

Yet – proof that God can use anything – La última cima was sparked by a tiny trivial incident. Juan Manuel Cotelo had a friend who banged on and on about Father Pablo, how great he was, how Juan Manuel should really come and see him, and hear him give a talk. So much so that just to shut his friend up he agreed to come and see Father Pablo give a talk. At the end, Juan Manuel introduced himself and Father Pablo said: “If I can ever do anything at all to help you, let me know”. “How nice” thought Cotelo.

And little else, until 12 days later on the television news, he heard Father Pablo’s name again. He had died. At the age of 42, after an accident while climbing a mountain. Curious, Cotelo began to investigate further. He found that Father Pablo had said he’d die young, that he’d like to die on a mountain, and that 3,000 people turned up to his funeral…

The resulting film, a sensation, is stylish and provocative. The opening shot (which you can see here) features a cartoon-style sketch of a priest being crucified…

And as for Cotelo, that was just the beginning. As he travelled the world promoting the film, people began to approach him telling extraordinary conversion stories: a former boxer in Lourdes, a one-time model in Colombia, an ex-gay prostitute from Mexico… Juan Manuel’s latest film is Mary’s Land about conversions occurring through Our Lady.

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Bess Twiston-Davies

About the Author ()

Bess Twiston-Davies is a freelance journalist who specialises in religious affairs

Comments (6)

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  1. mags says:

    This looks brilliant ~ I tried googling ~ and I tried the link ~ but still I could not work out how and if I could view this film in England? . . . any suggestions?

  2. Bess says:

    Hi Mags, you can either order a dvd from the infinitomasuno website or the cheaper option is to watch it online with English subtitles for 2 euros.99. This allows you to watch the film for 3 days.

    Here is the link:

    Just click on the little red tab with the white writing beneath the text. Then look left and you’ll see the purchase clocks up in the yellow column. Click on the red tab saying ‘pedido’ in white. Click ‘actualizar’ on the next page (also red tab) and then you need to scroll down to ‘registrarse como usario’ (register as user)

    Nombre de usuario – user name

    Contraseña – password

    Then fill in Datos de contacto y facturación (contact and billing details).
    Name, surname, Dirección is address, ciudad, city, pais, country, codigo postal – post code
    Teléfono Móvil – mobile number.

    Dirección de Envío – postal address.
    You tick the box beneath this if it is the same as the billing address

    The final box they ask you to tick is that you agree to the terms and conditions. Then if you tick comprar (buy) it will take you through to Pay Pal, and after Pay Pal back to the order page so you can finally confirm the order.

    Good luck!


  3. mags says:


    . . . . . . . . . . . beautiful

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Graceful

  4. mags says:

    Thank you Bess!!!

  5. mags says:

    And in Grace lets not forget ~ that Jesus chose Peter ~ Cephas (Rock) upon which His church was to be made ~ specifically a married man!

    1 Corinthians 9:5: “Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brethren of the Lord and Cephas?” This suggests that in his travels Peter (known as Cephas) journeyed with his wife. . . .and then theres the mother in law.

    So how dare we decide to redefine it other ~ and then maintain and present it to be The Only Way!

  6. mags says:

    Still . . . the film is an incredibly immense, beautiful and Graceful example of a wonderful human being living in God. Inspirational.

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