Macario (1960) **** Salon Mexico series

July 23rd, 2019
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Roberto Gavaldon | Fantasy drama | Mexico 91′

The BFI’s season of films from Mexican cinema’s postwar golden age concludes with this rarely seen neo-realist fantasy that resembles an episode of The Twilight Zone directed by the Bergman that made The Seventh Seal and The Virgin Spring (of which the latter beat Macario to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at that year’s Oscars, for which both had been nominated).

Based on a moral tale by the enigmatic B.Traven (author of ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’), as photographed by Mexico’s top cameraman Gabriel Figueroa, this starts as a grim tale of poverty in which fantasy takes over as the starving hero’s purloined turkey dinner attracts the interest of a thinly disguised Satan, followed by God and finally by the Grim Reaper, who gives him the power not of healing but of prophecy (although people treat it as though it’s the same thing).

The film also provides a rare glimpse of the late Pina Pellicer as the hero’s careworn wife, remembered today as the ethereally lovely heroine of Marlon Brando’s classic cult western One-Eyed Jacks (1961). Richard Chatten.


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