La Tragedia de Macario

Director: Pablo Véliz
Screenwriters: Pablo VŽliz

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


When his native town of Sabinas Hidalgo can no longer provide much more than nightly beans and tortillas, Mexican peasant worker Macario finds himself drawn uncontrollably to thoughts of crossing the border to find work and a more dignified life for his wife. When his struggles worsen, he can no longer wait, so Macario and his best friend set out on the dangerous journey north to Estados Unidos, guided by faith, determination, and a watchful holy eye.

But even divine intervention cannot save Macario from the fate implied in the film's title, and tragedy inevitably arrives. First-time filmmaker Pablo Véliz orchestrates the magical realism of La Tragedia de Macario with a beautiful eye and ear for the inner lives of the truly desperate, while exploring the spirituality they must survive on in place of real food. Using a stylized narrative score, Véliz penetrates easily into his character's hearts, unleashing an exciting sense of purpose. Along with a talented cast, he creates a film far more accomplished than his youth and modest budget would suggest possible.

Inspired in part by the 2003 events in Victoria, Texas—the worst immigrant tragedy in American history—La Tragedia de Macario explores the complexities of home, love, and spirit with moving results.

— Joseph Beyer

Screening Details

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