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SLAVE HUNTER

Cuba, 1977 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Sergio Giral

This Cuba 'western' is based on the diary of Francisco Estevez, the most notorious rancheador (slave hunter) of the troubled colonial period of Latin America. The rancheador was essentially a mercenary, charged by wealthy landowners to hunt down runaway slaves (cimarrones) and return them to their owners or, if the hunt ended in the slave's death, returning an ear. Estevez was the most ruthless, ambitious and murderous of these rancheadors, one who not only hunted slaves but also used his henchmen to suppress any sign of rebellion or desire for freedom, in any group, whether white or black, slave or free man. His violence against small peasant landowners extends the empires of the wealthy ruling class.

Estevez is obsessed with capturing Melchora, the mythical, invincible woman who leads the runaway slaves, a search which only leads to more violence and oppression.

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