[I worked with Dylcia Pagan (one of the characters in the movie is based on her) in New York at El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem but unknown to me at the time, she was a member of the Macheteros, a ‘terrorist’ organization dedicated to achieving independence for Puerto Rico. The Macheteros were famous for their daring Brinks armored car robbery in the late 1970s. I think they liberated about $10 million. The Ed]
Post 9/11 definitions, ideas and notions of terrorism are challenged in this highly controversial and experimental film. Machetero is an allegorical narrative that follows French journalist Jean Dumont played by Isaach de Bankolé (The Keeper, Ghost Dog, Coffee and Cigarettes, Mandalay) to a New York prison where he interviews Pedro Taino a so called “Puerto Rican Terrorist” played by Not4Prophet (lead singer of the Puerto Punk band RICANSTRUCTION). Pedro is a self-described Machetero fighting to free Puerto Rico from the yoke of United States colonialism. He is obsessed with freedom, freedom for his country, his people and for himself. Jean questions Pedro about his decisions to use violence as a means to achieve that freedom.
As Jean and Pedro speak, another story unfolds. A ghetto youth played by Kelvin Fernandez (in his first starring role) grows up in the ghetto streets and crosses paths with Pedro. Pedro sees potential in the ghetto youth and reawakens a revolutionary spirit instilled in from childhood by a mentor in Puerto Rico played by former Puerto Rican Prisoner of War Dylcia Pagan (who did 20 years in US prisons). Pedro tries to provide the means for the ghetto youth to grow into the next generation of Machetero.
The film is structured around songs from the album, “Liberation Day” written and preformed by RICANSTRUCTION. The songs are interwoven into the film as a narrative voice. RICANSTRUCTION also provides an original improvised score that moves from hardcore be-bop punk to layered haunting and abstract Afro-Rican rhythms.
The film will be screened Wednesday, 10 June in Tamworth, near Loughborough in the Midlands. Check the Website for details.
Visit the Machetero Website