Already in Hasta el sol tiene manchas (FID 2012) and Se escuchan aullidos (FID 2020), Julio Hernández Cordón was playfully experimenting with films that interwove narratives, places and times. Mexico, 2022 – how does one recount its history, here and now? For this short, incisive study, he starts off with a tree. A famous – and ailing – tree; one that’s said to have lived through the centuries ever since Hernán Cortés, the conquistador, shed tears here after his single but crushing defeat by the Aztecs in 1520 during the so-called Night of Sorrows. Cordón, true to his habit of taking his protagonists and audience on unpredictable odysseys, leads us into the turmoil of this night with its many echoes. Little by little, timeframes merge, melting into one with whinnying from the distant past, masks, sharp spikes and scooters crossing swords. This haunting, infernal cycle of time and spirits, both playful and vengeful right up to the unexpected finale, evokes both the popular B-movie genre and forms of early filmmaking. In a jubilant play of roles, palimpsests and reversals, this subversive counter-history gives substance to the vanquished people of today, hence the approach that sets it in Tepito, one of the oldest and most iconic neighbourhoods, where a completely different but no less violent battle is playing out. It’s about history and reconquering through storytelling and images: grave wit in a city where violence lives on, like a legacy of the original violence of the conquest.