In 1968, five employees from the University of Puebla take a trip to climb a local volcano called La Malinche. Their bus leaves them in the tiny village of San Miguel Canoa where darkness and torrential rain force them to seek accommodation. The priest of Canoa (Lucero) is convinced that they are communist activists come to foment revolution. He whips the townsfolk into a frenzy of hysteria and murderous rage. Will these unwelcome visitors survive the trip?
Part faux-documentary, political critique and visceral horror story, Cazals’ recreation of a true story was the first film to tackle the political upheaval of 1968 and was actually supported by the Mexican regime. The tension builds inexorably from a dry news story, through an off-kilter tour of the town and its inhabitants, to a terrifying third act that trades in base human emotions and violence. Cinematically powerful and politically relevant, “Canoa” is essential viewing.