Canoa | Chicago Reader


A landmark in Mexican cinema, Felipe Cazals's 1975 docudrama re-creates the chain of events that led to the lynching of five young university workers in the village of San Miguel Canoa in 1968. Using an on-screen “guide,” Cazals exposes the villagers' squalid existence and suggests that their pecking order, with a priest at the top, accounted for the mass hysteria that reigned after the university workers, mistaken for student agitators, stumbled into Canoa. The film is not always well served by the narrative device of the guide, but its climax—in which the villagers vent their fury and frustration with graphic gore—is truly frightening. Cazals indicts the priest, a figure too shadowy to be totally villainous, but one can also sense him fingering Mexico's corrupt, reactionary power structure. In Spanish with subtitles. 115 min.


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