“Machera” is already in theaters. This is the latest film project to come to light by Venezuelan director Jackson Gutiérrez, who has found a key to producing Venezuelan films with skill and his own stamp.
This time he once again uses his infallible formula: a story that, from the neighborhood, goes after invisible characters with heroic color. It is inspired, yes, by real events but without letting go of fiction. And far from flirting with documentary, his cinematographic work abounds in drama. Shooting, chase, romance and simplicity surround the adventure of just over an hour and a half whose title is completed with “The One from the Court of Knights.”
The bet connects again with that idea of shaking people up. She beats them from the screen with her sensitive story, but she also dislodges them through reflection. Especially because one leaves the cinema wondering how it is possible to deify a criminal who kills and steals, justifying himself on absurd matters to do so. However, the tape explains that in his last years Machera stole to help those in his community. For me, poverty is overcome with education, training and work, even embracing sports or music. But I repeat, it is a sensitive topic.
With the help of his production house Jackson Films and the National Autonomous Center of Cinematography (CNAC), Gutiérrez shares his tribute to Luis Enrique Cerrada Molina with the masses. He does it to publicize events that occurred, locally in Mérida, during the 70s.
The era does not seem to matter so much to the director when recreating the story. In fact, it is little beyond a telephone, some weapons or some distant elements in the locker room, that try to anchor him to the past. But no, in general, the viewer never feels like they were in the disco music years.
For those who do not know, “Machera” was coined the title of the Robin Hood of Mérida. The film in some way seeks to honor this but also presents the less altruistic side of this young man.
With and without charm
Distributed by Blancica, its first screening was a few weeks ago at the Mérida Venezuelan Film Festival, where its reach was measured by receiving applause. The ovation celebrated the acting work of Javier Ruiz from Merida or actress Ana Karina Velásquez, the latter much better than the former.
But it was José Millán who won the Debut Actor Award. He stands out as Crazy Cat, the criminal's loyal friend, connecting with his character and giving him truth, depth and transition.
Other more established ones such as Marialejandra Martín (who plays the protagonist's mother) and Antonio Delli (in the role of a somewhat caricatured police officer who gives him no respite) provide experience. Also notable are Irving Coronel, Luis de Lima, Rolando Padilla (with a very small participation) and Jackson Gutiérrez, who once again convinces and makes it clear that he has the makings of acting. He will be seen as the bad guy Caracas (a criminal rival of Machera).
The film was shot in the city of Mérida. In “Machera” Gutiérrez seeks to show the man who dedicated himself to stealing and, in turn, helping those in need. But it is the human side of him, loves, conflicts and motivations that monopolize the narrative.
Although the film has interesting moments, it is a simple work whose greatest value lies in the fact that its director does not stop in the face of adversity and continues energetically offering entertainment. In a country where cinema struggles with high-quality international productions without large resources, this has great merit.