Oedipus Mayor

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Oedipus Mayor, more than a simple adaptation of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy, is a bold attempt to give political context to the violence that has wracked Colombia for most of this century. In this auspicious adaptation, violence is an allegory for the plague that afflicted Thebes. Directed with theatrical panache by Jorge Alí Triana, Oedipus Mayor is the story of Edipo (Jorge Perugorría), who is sent to be the mayor and mediate peace in an Andean town deeply torn by civil strife. On his way to the town, Edipo is blocked on a narrow bridge by another car on a suspicious mission. A shootout ensues, and Edipo is forced to fire back, narrowly escaping. In town he learns of the kidnapping of Layo, the popular political leader, who is later found dead.

Edipo meets Yocasta, Layo’s widow, and romance ensues. Edipo’s efforts to bring all warring sides to the table leads to a meeting with a rebel group. Upon his arrival at their jungle headquarters, he discovers a gruesome massacre. The survivors reignite the violence in the town, bringing Edipo to dark realizations of his own doings and, ultimately, his doom. Jorge Alí Triana has created a remarkable journey into the sad reality of a country at war with itself.

— Ramiro Puerta, Toronto Film Festival

Screening Details

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