“MACHETERO is Riveting.”
“Machetero is a provocative, gritty, suspenseful story examining the power of revolutionary violence through the lens of a man named Pedro and his actions for Puerto Rican independence. Pedro is an imprisoned jesus-like revolutionary. Embracing violence in the cause of freedom, the movie shows Pedro making a pipe bomb to use on the Fourth of July against a US military recruitment center. From there Pedro proceeds to assassinate several congressmen and a Puerto Rican CEO. In this movie, the American Dream is actually a nightmare of bad schools, brutal racist cops, drug dealers, prison cells and tenements – both in the U.S. and in P.R. Supported by an astounding soundtrack by Ricanstruction, Machetero is also intercut with powerful revolutionary poetry. Pedro, who never saw the inside of a library until prison, is questioned by a French journalist about why he uses violence in the cause of freedom. Called a terrorist by many, he sees himself as one in a long line of freedom fighters. If you are not profoundly moved by Machetero, check your pulse.”
– Former Legal Director of the Center For Constitutional Rights Bill Quigley
“A powerful piece of Filmmaking… I dug it. I loved the film”
– Sam Greenlee author & co-screenwriter of The Spook Who Sat By The Door
“Machetero, which Vagabond calls “an allegorical narrative,” is one part cinematic innovation, extended music video, political education class, manifesto (or anti-manifesto, in the words of Pedro Taino) and history lesson. It is a Puerto Punk opera with a cast of mostly non professional people whose realness is both heartfelt and immediate. The filmmaking style is a mix between professional filmmaking and DIY. It sabotaged linear time lines and smudges characters. The anti-manifesto that Pedro wrote scrolls across scenes, burning its political rhetoric into the audiences’ retinas.
Interwoven through the film, the score is a mosaic that combines songs from Puerto Rican punk band Ricanstruction’s first album Liberation Day and original music created for Machetero. Lyrics flash on the screen like stop signs, forcing the viewer to reckon with songs such as “Jihad Seeds” and “Pedro’s Grave,” with begins with the line, “Pedro’s got a pipebomb/set for the 4th of July.” Vagabond alternates complete silence and then splices in a loud ass punk song that creates a soundtrack as jarring, disturbing and captivating as the film.
The film ends with a Puerto Punx Matrix scene: the young revolutionary jacks into the telephone box and places a call to the Office of Homeland Security to deliver his own anti-manifesto, ending with, “This is where your death is our beginning. This is where recompense is redemption.”
Machetero is an incredibly necessary film. For the content it unflinchingly explores, for its interrogation of who exactly is the terrorist in these daze and times, for the innovations in film techniques that blur the line of reality and fiction — because for oppressed people, our fiction is often our reality. Machetero offers no simple answers. It doesn’t even ask simple questions. It does demand both a recognition and a reckoning, and it must be answered with something.”
– Left Turn by Walidah Imarisha
“For the new generation of activists, the inspiration, experiences and lessons of the Puerto Rican liberation struggle and other empire-shaking movements of the 20th Century are the raw material from which strategies of new revolutionary movements will be forged. This new film begins to ask a critical question for revolutionaries: Is there a difference between violence and revolutionary violence, and if so, what is it? There is a distance between that question and the answer, which may only be answered in the struggle of new generations. This film will kindle that discussion and ferment.”
– Frontlines Of Revolutionary Struggle
“This has to be one of the most politically insightful, impulsive and important pieces ever for me to visualize. MACHETERO is indeed a no bullshitting up-front film! And truth is that’s exactly what I enjoyed MOST. The rugged truthfulness was crisp and passion behind dialog/narration was intriguing. Nowadays filmmakers pussyfoot around with too much of the politically correctness to embrace suits, but in the end, they’re nothing but sell-outs. Vagabond in a sense took this ball and flew with it. He took it to a place where the bar was set extremely high. If anything, I see him as someone who opened up the doors to other independent filmmakers to say “Fuck it!” and go there.”
– CorrienteLatina by “Prinz” Lee Romero
Apart from pulling effective performances from his actors, Vagabond has succeeded in providing for us with a cautionary tale. This is done not by answering our questions but, rather by moving us to ask and answer questions regarding cycles of violence and so-called terrorism for ourselves. By using the history of U.S. imperialism and its effect on Puerto Rico, Machetero allows us to step back to consider the acts of 9/11; what conditions must be in place for such acts to occur? Is this what happens when a people are pushed far enough? When is violence justified and just how do we define violence?
– Portland Independent Media Center by Marlena Gangi
MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.
WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.