The works of Puerto Rican filmmakers are not distributed as they should be. Recently I saw "El clown", a fine movie I had not heard anything about since its release in 2006; and now "Meteoro", a title that had never crossed my path, and which originated from an interesting anecdote: in 1978 a group of filmmakers (including Renato Padovani, the cinematographer of "Meteoro") got lost in the Brazilian back-lands while shooting a documentary, and discover the existence of Nova Holanda, a small village that emerged from a settlement created by the workers that were building the road from Brasilia to Fortaleza during Juscelino Kubitschek's government, and a troop of prostitutes. In 1964 the construction was suddenly stopped when the Brazilian army seized power, communication was closed, the workers and whores were abandoned, and they had to use their imagination to survive and grow. Diego de la Texera took this fact and made a beautiful motion picture that, in well-measured doses, speaks of love, social classes, ethnic groups, political persecution and people's dreams. Although the story could be the starting point for one of those traditional leftist diatribes of ideological battering, or for a drama about the social, sexual and sanitary problems (among others) that isolation probably originated, De la Texera opted to tell us the feisty and horny (heterosexual) tale of the community of Meteoro, a place full of fantasy, sensuality and magic, taken from Omar Khayyan, Rismky-Korsakoff, Chaplin, cheap vaudeville and science-fiction movies of the 1950s. (It is true that when Brasilia was built there was frequent talk about UFO sightings, but the meteors and other strange objects in "Meteoro" bring me fond memories of "It Came from Outer Space" and "This Island Earth".) Even when dealing with the military (whether in uniforms or dressed as civilians) as they suddenly break into the commune to "spoil the settlers' party" 13 years later, De la Texera avoids a Manichaean approach, and goes for a more objective strategy. Moreover, I believe -with no intention of being offensive- that Diego is, to a good measure, a son of the hippie counter-culture that instead of acts of violence proposed loving methods of conciliation. As a good "flower child", he was attracted to the story of the commune, and turned it into an attractive motion picture for us the spectators to enjoy, revealing at the same time a few weaknesses of Utopias: on one hand, for example, he shows the virtues of revelry, but also reveals the need for philosophy and training; and on the other, among a group of persons for which property is communal, attachment to matter (specially to human flesh) is still the bigger cause of suffering. The liberating act in "Meteoro" comes from a boy and he does it naively, childishly (with a toy), and beyond the impulses of the grown-ups, to protect his father from the military torturers. In the final balance, "Meteoro" is a film rich with images that lead to reflection, a labor of love that merited better diffusion.
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