Herod's Law

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Herod's Law
La Ley De Herodes (Herod's Law) 1999 Mexican film DVD cover.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Luis Estrada
Produced by Luis Estrada
Written by Luis Estrada
Starring Damián Alcázar
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
Delia Casanova
Juan Carlos Colombo
Alex Cox
Music by Santiago Ojeda
Cinematography Norman Christianson
Edited by Luis Estrada
Distributed by Artecinema, Venevision International
Release dates
November 9, 1999
Running time
120 min
Country Mexico
Language Spanish

Herod's Law (original Spanish title La ley de Herodes) is a 1999 Mexican comedy film produced by Bandidos Films; it's a political satire of corruption in Mexico and the long-ruling PRI party (notably the first Mexican film to criticize PRI explicitly by name [1] and carried some controversy and interference from the Mexican government because of it [2]). The film won the Ariel Award for Best Picture from the Mexican Academy of Film.


After the mayor of the fictional village San Pedro de los Saguaros is lynched by angry villagers, a petty PRI party member named Juan Vargas (Damián Alcázar) is appointed temporary mayor by the state governor. At first the new mayor attempts to do good but a lack of funds cripples his efforts, and the bribe of a brothel owner sets him on the path to corruption. Seeking help from his superior, the secretary to the PRI governor, he is given a copy of the constitution of Mexico and a revolver and is told that the only law is Herod's law: literally translated: "either you get screwed or you get fucked." (O te chingas o te jodes).

When Vargas thus has become the executive, legislature and judiciary of the village all in one person he soon becomes corrupt, first accepting a bribe from brothel owner Doña Lupe, and soon moving on to extort all of the villagers. When questioned, he declares that he is funding a new project to bring electricity to the village - a farce which is revealed when only one utility pole is raised. Vargas becomes progressively more corrupt, levying false accusations against the local doctor (an obstreperous PAN mayoral candidate), and killing Doña Lupe after she resists his authoritarianism. Vargas becomes obsessed with power to the point where the whole town despises him. Then, Vargas seems to meet his demise when he is surrounded by a crowd of torch-wielding villagers, but reappears at the very end of the film delivering a speech to the Mexican National Congress. As Vargas says in his speech that the PRI must stay in power forever, the film cuts to the scene of a new mayor coming to San Pedro de los Saguaros in exactly the same way that Vargas did.

DVD edition[edit]

This movie was released in Region 1 by 20th Century Fox and Venevision Intl. under the banner Cinema Latino in 2004; right now, this edition is out of print.

A second edition was released in 2006 by Warner Home Video with Fernando Sariñana's Todo el Poder


External links[edit]