I learned a new word watching the Mexican doc The Demons of Eden: narcopederasty. But to be fair to the film’s scope, it should be expanded even further, maybe ending up with something like, “narcokleptocapitalopederasty”. And there you have your subject line.
If Demons of Eden cast a wide net, it must be admitted, it caught a lot of fish. But let’s leave that metaphor behind. The main storyline follows Lydia Cacho, a human rights writer whose initial plan was to become a cultural journalist and write poetry — “the beautiful things in life.” No such luck. After one scoop led to another, she ended up writing a book about a network of extremely wealthy pedophiles in Cancun, featuring two Lebanese-Mexican gangsters of obscene wealth and influence. Though initially the sidekick, “Denim King” Kamel Nacif Borge becomes the main villain, landing Cacho in jail and arranging her torture.
In the investigations that follow, all rocks are unturned. Some reveal spectacular grime. Taped conversations between Nacif and various figureheads of the establishment, including the governor of Puebla province, are explosive and disturbing. Others reveal distractions — a brief detour on the toxic blue water released by denim factories raises far more questions than it answers.
The movie’s style is as hectic as its substance. A cacophony of extravagant graphics is out of control, making the subtitles often very tricky to follow. But Lydia Cacho’s dignity and courage shine through, and if her story is rich in detail and digressions it’s strong enough to keep you gripped (if confused). Like Shock Waves, Demons of Eden suggests that its journalist protagonist is ultimately a great nationalist. Cacho speaks frequently about wanting to bring out the best in her fatherland. Good luck to her. The film plays again Monday at noon at the ROM.