The five women featured in Marlén Viñayo’s feature debut, Cachada – The Opportunity, are individuals we rarely see on-screen. They are single mothers and street vendors in El Salvador, making do by selling food or spare items like toilet paper. They are poor, many of them have survived some form of abuse, and they are all just trying to get through the day and support their families. However, in Cachada and in the theater program the documentary follows, they are the stars. The documentary was such a hit among its SXSW viewers that it took home the audience award in the Global category.
In between busy shifts as moms and street sellers, Evelyn Chileno, Magdalena Henríquez, Wendy Henríquez, Magaly Lemus and Ruth H. Vega join their teacher, Egly Larreynaga, in a nondescript room. It looks like the spare activity room of a church, but with the chairs, stray boxes and tables pushed out of the way, leaving behind a blank space – their space – in the room with white walls. The women have formed a theater company, La Cachada Teatro, and it’s in these kinds of nondescript spaces where they first began to do basic acting exercises and stretch creative muscles they may have never known they had.
For these exercises and prompts, the group digs deep to unearth decades, perhaps generations of trauma in their families. They fill the space with their haunting stories of physically abusive parents or sexually abusive partners, men who preyed on them when they were so young, and the frustrations they deal with their kids today. These are not women with the means for therapy. The theater is their form of therapy.
Viñayo plays a one-woman crew, filming on a scrappy digital camera. A good portion of the film is handheld, moving with the women around the room as they work through their stories and feelings. Sometimes, there’s a distance between the camera and a raw performance, as if to give the budding actress space to cry and catch her breath. There’s a sense that everyone in the room is exploring these deep secrets and hidden pain with caution and sensitivity towards each other.
Monica Castillo, Remezcla
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Film Title : Cachada – The Opportunity
Language : espanja
Director : Marlén Viñayo
Year : 2019
Length : 81
Age limit : K12
Format : DCP
Cinematographer : Marlén Viñayo, Carla Molina
Editing : Fran Barba
Music : Amnésica
Producer : Marlén Viñayo, André Guttfreund
Production Company : La Jaula Abierta
Title in Original Language : Cachada
Tue 28.1. at 18.45, Maxim 2
Fri 31.1. at 20.45, Kinopalatsi 8
Sun 2.2. at 12.15, Kinopalatsi 5