Pre-colonial Mexico had its own Joan of Arc: the folk heroine of the Purepecha people, Erendira Ikikunari. And unlike Joan, she fought the invasion of a Christian god. In director Juan Roberto Mora Catlett's award-winning film, the Spanish conquistadors arrive on what is to be her wedding day, and her betrothed is called to action. The indigenous tribes believe the white men to be gods and fight one another while seeking favor, certain they cannot defeat the heavenly invaders. Jilted at the altar, faithful to her tribal religion and sure the Spanish are mortals, Erendira captures a Spanish warhorse and urges her people to resist. But her own tribe is split over whether she is an incarnation of one of their gods or a witch seeking their doom. Catlett combines an action/suspense approach with a brilliant story about first contact and the complex role religion played in colonization. His use of native body-painting rituals, masks and myth lend a stark visual poetry to the battles of faith and conquest. The Las Americas Film Network and New Orleans Film Society sponsor this free screening. The director will attend. — Will Coviello

Directed by Juan Roberto Mora Catlett

7 p.m. Thu., Feb. 5

Tulane University, 102 Jones Hall;