Saturday, October 16, 2010
On-Demand: MACHO, from Rafael Palacio Illingworth, views an off-kilter relationship
MACHO, the new and first-full-length movie from Mexican-born Rafael Palacio Illingworth, makes the statement, "He loves her. She likes him." That's a short, smart tag line, all right, but it barely does justice to the short, smart movie itself. Yes, he loves her (though what, exactly is this love he professes?). And yes, she likes him. Though she might have come to love him, too, and maybe did, for awhile, during this fraught, foolish, alternately fulfilling/unfulfilling "relationship" film in which he travels from sexy, stylish and studly to needy, obsessed, clingy, creepy and sad.
Jolene Andersen, above) and Mexican (dark, different, "other," as essayed by Illingworth, below). Both are immigrants, she from the north, he from the south, and the fact that he proves needier and by far more insecure lends irony and sadness to the movie's title, which is certainly part of its theme: How can (or should) a Mexican man be properly macho in a land where he reaches nowhere near the top of the totem pole.
Richard Gere gifted us (more than once, as I recall) with full-frontal and thus made it clear that not every male (nor every male movie star) comes complete with a big dick, have we seen such exposure, and on several levels. Illingworth is the rare male director willing to unveil not just his female star's full, nude anatomy (which he does, and it's something), but his own, as well. Compare this film to the current critics' darling, Carlos, during the first section of which, Hispanic star Édgar Ramírez stands naked before a mirror, admiring then fondling his own rather spectacular package. Must one be a terrorist to be truly macho below the belt? Food for thought.
IFC On-Demand. Check its availability in your area by clicking here.