August 21, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Courting obscurity, indie eminence John Sayles follows his Oscar-nominated Lone Star with this self-financed quest drama (in Spanish, Maya, and various other Indian tongues) that opened in limited release last March. A Latin-American M.D. visits an aid program he founded in the Indian outlands and discovers his protégés dead. Were they mugged by bandits? Slaughtered by guerrillas? Killed by the government? Sayles spins fine intrigue from his hero’s search for answers; the film feels like a Graham Greene novel — Catholic in theme, nuanced in tone, mannered in telling. B

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