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A film considered among the best in Mexican cinema; in which the greatest of Mexico's traditions is explored, the cult of death and its interaction with human beings.
Macario is a poor man who collects firewood in the mountains and sells it in the village to support a large family. His greatest dream is to be able to eat a turkey on his own without giving it to his family. By chance of fate, he achieves his mission and escapes to the mountain to eat alone, meeting various characters, who ask him for a bite; but it is death that he invites to eat. Death, to thank the gesture, gives you the power to predict and prevent someone from dying. This power brings him riches and fame; however, the climax of the film is far from what the viewer expects.
Director Roberto Gavaldón (The kneeling goddess, 1947; The golden rooster, 1964) choose a story that well represents Mexican folklore and its fascination with death; bringing the black and white of the film to the portrait of misery of rural Mexican life in the mid-twentieth century. Photography, landscapes and locations immerse the viewer and make them companions of those who seek a minute of happiness in their infinite misery. The limitations of black and white only make the environment more sordid, making it part of the story, seeing it in color reduces the impact of the story.
The cast could not be better chosen, Ignacio López Tarso (The shadow of the caudillo, 1960; The paper man, 1963) With the main role he takes Macario to a level that attracts the viewer due to his ease and naturalness; actors of the stature of Enrique Rambal (The martyr of Calvary, 1952) or Enrique Lucero (Canoa, 1976; Las poquianchis, 1976) who gives life to death and gives it a characteristic stamp of gloomy solemnity, even in some scenes that would like to be comical.
The story is an ode to the almost fetishistic tradition that the Mexican has, with death and paranormal things. The film takes the viewer on a journey to what would be an encounter with what we will all come to one day and that many fear. Superbly carried and narrated, there's no time when you feel lazy or hit a pothole; the movie flows at a pace, not dizzying, but steady and the climax is a good decision by the director.
The Mexican cinema of the 50's is characterized mainly by enhancing the rural life of the country and showing its richness in traditions; however, it becomes crude and morbid with other films that do not detract from its worth. The radical change in the 60's and 70's towards two great trends; purely commercial tapes, to make money and entertain or films that wanted to show the sordid side of a Mexico subjugated by a repressive policy that only showed the beautiful side.
Macario is worth seeing, not only for its content, but for its filmic and narrative value that shows that not only cinema with great special effects is worth seeing; a story that can be dramatically told at ground level.

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