Machetero. The movie

Machetero is a meditation on violence as a means toward liberation. Post 9/11 definitions, ideas and notions of terrorism are challenged in this highly controversial and experimental film.

The structure of Machetero is built around songs from “Liberation Day”, a concept album centered on the liberation struggle of Puerto Rico, written and preformed by Ricanstruction. The songs in the film took on the quality of a narrative voice becoming a modern day Greek chorus. Ricanstruction also provides a completely improvised original score that moves from hardcore be-bop punk to layered haunting and abstract Afro-Rican rhythms.

Machetero is about terrorism and terrorists, how they are defined and by whom. It is a film that asks us to challenge the way in which we view the events that play out in the world. It is a film about the cyclical nature of violence that is perpetuated by those who choose to oppress and those who no longer wish to be oppressed.

One comment

  1. An interesting video with an idealistic approach that won’t hold up in practice. Yes, colonialism is violence. So is globalization. But there are levels of violence, and to respond to systemic violence with yet more violence will result in a violent response from the oppressors, a cycle of violence spiraling out of control. In the process, the “revolutionaries” almost inevitably become oppressors themselves. Using violence only while necessary sounds good in theory, but in practice once violence has been identified as an acceptable option it rarely goes away.

    Those of us who prefer nonviolence face a major challenge, one created by the oppressors: too many people in the world have too little to live for, and to die for a cause sounds better to them than the life they would otherwise face. In many cases, folks with money convince them to sacrifice their lives in order to support their families (e.g. Al Queda, Saddam Hussein, LTTE). In the barrios, the jungles, the slums, the forgotten rural areas, people live in squalor we in the U.S, cannot imagine. Do they have a beef? You bet. Will violent struggle get them what they want? Not usually. It’s more likely to result in increased oppression.

    Often, the “struggle” becomes an end in itself. How many conflicts have been won through revolutionary violence in the post-9/11 era? I can’t think of one. Several have failed, resulting in massive loss of life. OTOH, there have been nonviolent revolutions throughout the world– most notably the “colored” revolutions earlier in the decade. (What happened AFTER the nonviolent transfer of power is another story– the maintenance of revolution is an issue for both the violent and nonviolent varieties.)

    It is also worth noting that the enemy– the oppressor– is us. We are the folks feeding the machine of global oppression. If you buy electronics made in China, clothes made in Indonesia or Thailand (or a dozen other third world countries), coffee that’s not certified “fair trade,” tea from Sri Lanka or India, goods made or assembled in Mexico, you are the enemy. It’s great to talk about standing “in solidarity” with the oppressed, but what are we going to do about it?

    Says the movie, “Violence will only yield to revolutionary violence… Where there is revolution, there is liberation– freedom.” I think he ought to get out more. Once you have seen the cycle of violence in action and its results, revolutionary violence looks much less attractive.

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