This rare, remarkable silent adventure opens with a young man experiencing his first shot of morphine. To try to describe the rest of the breathless plot would be futile, but suffice to say that it involves hints of bestiality, homosexual orgies, a lecture on the horrors of drug addiction, documentary footage of strait-jacketed patients, and a pipe-smoking ten-year-old boy detective who helps save the day. A trail-blazing example of surrealism in the country that fostered Frida Kahlo and Luis Buñuel, the film disappeared from public view after a few screenings in Veracruz in 1927, until a restored version premiered in Mexico City in 2001. Silent, with Spanish and English intertitles and live musical accompaniment.
Since 1997, San Francisco-based Seth Horvitz has been producing and performing under the moniker Sutekh. Manipulating computers, synthesizers, samplers, found sounds, and acoustic instruments, he has created everything from minimal house and beat-driven techno music to dissonant sound collages. His unique musical tapestry pairs perfectly with the surrealistic imagery of El Puño de hierro.