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EL SANTO LUZBEL

Mexico, 1996 (MIFF 1997, International)

Director: Miguel Sabido

In the tiny Mexican mountain village of Yohualichan, the majordomo who presided over the annual Colloquium has died. Conse­quently the resident Indians have not held the holy play, dedicated to Saint Michael but grounded in indigenous rites, for several years. The majordomo's son Olegario regards this as a spiritual misdemeanour and the source of the village's misfortunes, which include failing crops and the violent attentions of a corrupt regional administration intent on appropriating Indian land. However, he believes an expert should take up the mantle and together with his four godsons, he visits the neighbouring village of Cuetzalan, desperate to enlist impresario Melchior as new majordomo.

As they plan the Colloquium the performers are threatened by Yohualichan's dogmatic priest and a corrupt local official. Their sole ally is Cuetzalan priest Father Julio who regards spiritu­al tradition as crucial to the Indians' meaningful embrace of Catholicism, and agonises over the erosion of their culture.

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