Ave María, set in La Nueva Español during 1659, is the story of mestiza María Inez (Tere Tarin).She teaches astronomy, and is very proud of her autonomous education, but a jealous clergyman, Father Cuña (Damián Alcázar) gets her in trouble for her hubris, and she is soon cast out for good once her husband dies, leaving Cuña to take charge. That, then, leaves plenty of room for her deification and subsequent placement as a martyr as she takes the word of God to the indigenous Indians. Mostly derivative and reminiscent of Joan of Arc (down to the burning at the stake), the heavy study of that text knocks wind out of Ave María’s sails. Here we have a woman who has good ideas that would at least benefit her without harming anyone, and at most, benefit the society she is in. But her leadership is feared and opposed by those in higher ranks with other plans, and she is proclaimed as a witch and a heretic. In itself, the relative similarity is not a bad thing, but the storytelling and presentation is weak. The narrative superficially skims along, hitting only major points without showing proof or developments. It jumps onto the major developments for no other reason than to illustrate the results. The transgressions are too quick — such as her open-armed welcome as a deity, her ridicule, her acquiescence to Cuña, etc. That which seems so interesting is ignored and summarized by the arrival of the next important event. Watching a movie, and my emphasis is on the watching aspect, is like taking a scenic route on a highway; you take it to admire the scenery, to watch and look at what you are driving through. Not to take a short cut, which is what director Eduardo Rossoff ends up doing.