Based on a short story by B. Traven (whose best known book-into-film is The Treasure of Sierre Madre, 1948), Macario (1960) is one of the great treasures of world cinema, beyond being merely one of the greatest horror films of all time.
It is to Mexican cinema what Seven Samurai is to Japanese cinema, or Casablanca to American cinema, or Children of the Paradise to French cinema, or The Saragossa Manuscript to Polish cinema, or La Strada to Italian cinema, a work of cinematic perfection.
Ignacio Lopez Tarso plays the peasant Macario, whose wife (Pina Pellicer) prepares him a fine meal on the Day of the Dead, roasting a turkey she has stolen for him.
Looking forward to not being hungry for one day in his life, & so as not to share with his many children or his wife, Macario sets out alone into the mountain forests to eat in solitude.
Before Macario can eat, the Devil (Jose Galvez) in the garb of a gunfighter appears to him & asks to share the meal in exchange for land, so that Macario can become landed gentry like the Spaniards. Macario refuses.
He is then visited by God (Jose Luis Jimenez) in the guise of a shepherd, who asks to share the meal, & God too is refused.
Last comes Death (Enrique Lucero), who is a peasant like Macario, & beautiful like him too, yet so thin & hungry that Macario breaks down & shares the meal.
Death rewards Macario with a container with the Waters of Life, & instructs him on when it can be used to cure any illness, & when it must be withheld since when someone is truly fated to die they must be permitted to do so.
Macario becomes his village's miracle healer, gaining status & wealth. But the day comes when Death has instructed him to let a certain patient die, & Macario rebels. This is such an aesthetically beautiful weird tale, & so deeply moving a fable, every frame is a work of art.
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