Gonzalo Maza asked by El Estudio for the adaptation of ‘Macario’

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As part of a flagship agreement for the increasingly global industry of the Spanish-speaking world, Gonzalo Maza, co-writer of “A Fantastic Woman” by Sebastián Lelio, was asked by the production center El Estudio to adapt ” Macario “, a short story written by the legendary B. Traven.

Traven’s 1927 novel “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” was given a big screen makeover by John Huston in the 1948 film of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart, which won three Oscars and is often described as the best ever. work of Huston and Bogart. .

The announcement of the new film project was made by El Estudio on the eve of Day of the Dead in Mexico. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence when it comes to “Macario”, a title that is a Mexican literary classic reflecting the ubiquitous presence of death in Mexican culture.

Coming after El Estudio acquired the rights to “Macario” from the Traven estate, the film adaptation is being produced by Pablo Guisa from Morbido in Mexico, who signed a production alliance with El Estudio last year. El Estudio’s founding producer-partners, Diego Suárez Chialvo, Enrique Lopez Lavigne and Pablo Cruz, also produce.

A new major player in independent production launched at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020, El Estudio has offices in Madrid, Los Angeles and Mexico City.

Maza’s career to date has focused on Chile, where he co-wrote and produced Lelio’s film “Gloria”, which won Best Actress for Paulina García in Berlin in 2015 and was remade by Lelio as “Gloria Bell”, with Julianne Moore.

In “Macario”, however, Maza tackles a story that reflects the anti-establishment mindset of B. Traven, who is now considered a pseudonym of Moritz Ratheneau, a German anarchist who fled the fall of the ephemeral. Bavarian of 1919. Soviet Republic. He ended up in Mexico where he began writing about Mexico’s oppressed indigenous population decades before they were on the left wing’s radar.

It remains to be seen in which direction Maza will take “Macario”. Traven’s story itself adapts a fairy tale, “Godfather Death”, collected in “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” from 1812. Transferred to a Mexico still under Spanish rule, he turns against a poor lumberjack, Macario, who suffers with his family from famine. Her simple dream is to eat a whole turkey.

When he finally has the chance, death appears and Macario offers to share the turkey. As a sign of gratitude, Death grants the peasant the ability to heal the sick. The gift brings him wealth. But when he tries to save the life of the son and daughter of the ruler of his country, by breaking the rules set out by Death, Macario seals his own loss.

“I have been a die-hard fan of this story for a long time, Macario is present every year at Día de los Muertos almost as a rite. We are honored to be able to work with Gonzalo to bring this incredible story back to the screen, ”said Cruz.

“I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to immerse myself in the world of B. Traven, in a story so close to the heart of Mexico, and to be able to bring it back to our time, to make it resonate with themes that concern and excite us today, ”Maza added, hinting at how he might adapt Traven’s story.

Originally published in German in 1950, the story, whose English title was “The Healer”, was graced by The New York Times as the best short story of the year in 1953. It was adapted for cinema in 1960 by the Mexican director Roberto Gavaldon which played in competition at Cannes and became the first Mexican film to be nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film.

“We are delighted that Pablo, Gonzalo and the El Estudio team are introducing ‘Macario’ to the new generations,” said Malu Montes de Oca, Traven’s daughter-in-law.

“My stepfather had a unique empathy for the Mexican culture and people. The original film could only be enjoyed by an audience limited in Spanish.

“You will recall that Albert Einstein said that if he were to go to a desert island, he would not take any books with him that were not written by B. Traven. New production and distribution technologies will allow this timeless story to be seen in many languages ​​and formats around the world, ”she said enthusiastically.


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