La Otra Conquista which is the original Mexican title of this sweeping historical movie, is opening in select locations over the ‘Cinco de Mayo’ weekend (that’s the 5th  of May).

The Other Conquest was originally released in 1999 and holds the honor of being the biggest grossing Mexican historical drama ever. It is being released in select theaters in the US with English subtitles. Now this might put off a few movie goers, but look at the success that Mel Gibson had with Passions, and maybe subtitles are not so bad.

Set in the 1520s in Mexico, The Other Conquest depicts the struggle of the Aztec Emperor’s son to preserve his people’s religious and cultural identity in the wake of the invasion of his land by Spanish conquerors and clergymen. Catholic priests began spreading the gospel to the local “heathens” while the Spanish soldiers pillaged the Mexican countryside. Though the region was once regarded as one of the most advanced societies in the Western Hemisphere at the time of the Europeans’ arrival, the land, the people and its culture were soon shattered. As such, the film deals with the two forms of conquest – physical and spiritual – that are inherent to colonization, but even more importantly, it tells the story of the natives’ creative resistance against all odds in their will to survive with dignity and pride. The film delves into the religious, sexual and political conflicts that arise whenever civilizations clash, which gives the picture a powerful historical dimension and its present-day relevance.

In the space of two short years, the Aztec civilization was in ruins, fighting for their very existence.

If you want to find out more about this movie, there is a web site which also has the trailer (QuickTime format).

Many of the actors are unknown this side of the boarder, but is a formidable list. I did notice that Elpidia Carrillo from the wickedly funny Tortilla Heaven has one of the leading parts. The Other Conquest is a movie that you should keep your eyes open for.

Simon Barrett


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