Groundbreaking film shows tonight

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"Herod's Law" is a black, slapstick comedy set in a backwater town in Mexico. It tells the story of a man's transformation from an honest man to a corrupt politician. Not to give away the ending, but the moral of the story is simply, "Corruption pays." The movie was released in Mexico in 1999 and became popular despite -- or perhaps because -- the government tried to censor it.

"Herod's Law" was the first film in Mexican history to criticize openly the ruling party -- Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI -- by name. A year later, after 70 years in power, the PRI party was ousted, and National Action Party member Vicente Fox was elected. Many credit the change to "Herod's Law."

The Northwest Colorado Mexican Cultural Festival and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council Friday Free Film Series will show the Mexican film, "Herod's Law" at 7 p.m. and again at 9:30 p.m. today at Centennial Hall. The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles. Free. Call Linda at 871-8230.

"Herod's Law" is a Mexican idiom that basically means, "Screw them or they'll screw you."

The movie is set in the 1940s in the village of San Pedro de los Saguaros. Juan Vargas, the main character played by Damán Alcázar, is appointed to the position of mayor. He is too naive to know that the political party is using him.

Lovers of American independent film get a treat when cult classic director Alex Cox makes an appearance in the movie as a money-hungry gringo. Cox is the director of movies such as "Repo Man" and has appeared in several Mexican movies.

"Herod's Law" won "Best Latin American Film" at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival."

The film was brought to city Director of Intergovernmental Services Linda Kakela by her daughter, Katherine Kakela, who watched 20 Mexican films for potential screening at this year's Northwest Colorado Mexican Cultural Festival.

"Herod's Law" is the third and last film shown for the 2004 Cultural Festival.

"As we talked, we both started to realize that the best filmmakers in the world right now are Mexican," Linda Kakela said. Recent releases such as "Y Tu Mamá Tambien," "Amores Peros" and "The Motorcycle Diaries" have opened the international film community's eyes to the buzz of Mexican film.

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