First, a recap… A project we’ve been following since we first discovered it in late 2010, from director Carl Franklin (Devil In A Blue Dress, One False Move), called Bless Me, Ultima, based on Rudolfo Anaya’s award-winning novel of the same name, which chronicles the turbulent coming-of-age story of Antonio, a young boy growing up in New Mexico during World War II, and his relationship with Ultima, an elderly medicine woman who helps Antonio navigate the dangerous battle between good and evil raging in his village, and ultimately helps him discover his own spiritual identity.
The project was actually announced in early 2009, with Franklin also functioning as screenwriter.
Based on the 40 year old novel, which has been said would be a challenge to adapt to screen, because of its content, and style, the narrative has been described as “Magical realism.”
Also, the book was reportedly banned and burned by several groups, and it ranked highly on the American Library Association’s list of banned/challenged books from 2000 to 2009; apparently, many opposed “the profanity and the alternative religious content.“
Although the novel is said to be a reading requirement in high schools across the USA.
The film was shot on location in New Mexico, with a cast and crew made up mostly of New Mexicans.
And as noted, it’s now officially out in theaters, BUT has only been playing in New Mexico theaters since the fall; however, it was announced last month that it would be get a wider theatrical release in the USA, although no specific date was given.
We can now confirm that Bless Me, Ultima will open in limited theatrical release (about 25 – 30 cities in the USA), on February 22, followed by a much wider roll-out, which will see it expand to over 200 screens across the country.
So it looks like many more of us will be able to check out Mr Franklin’s latest big screen work. It’s been awhile. His last big screen release was Out Of Time in 2003 – 10 years ago, just about. Although since then, he’s been directing episodic TV primarily.
But while we wait for February 22nd to see Franklin’s first big screen work after a decade, a new USA release trailer has surfaced and is embedded below: