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YANCO

Mexico, 1961 (MIFF 1962)

Director: Servando Gonzalez

A simple story set in the tiny village of Mizquic, which forms part of the Xochimilco area on the outskirts of Mexico City. In this village a way of life which is a blend of Catholicism and paganism is still practised. Juanito, a musically gifted boy, cannot bear the noises of the town and runs off to the forest where he meets an old candy vendor, who teaches him to play the violin. When the old man dies, Juanito steals the violin every night from the pawnshop where it is for sale. The superstitious villagers think that the soul of the dead is playing it; armed with sticks and shovels they set out to track down and destroy the evil spirit. Centred around All Saints Day there are exceptional scenes of the night celebration of the Day of the Dead, with hundreds of flower-bedecked canoes, crowding the lagoons, illuminated with torches and laden with offerings. An experimental film, it is the joint effort of writer-director Servando Gonzalez and youthful photographer Alex Phillips, Jr. Made with a minimum of dialogue and with limited finance, Yanco has been described by overseas critics as a Mexican "New Wave" film.

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