THE CHARRO OF TOLUQUILLA
MEXICO 90 MIN
A documentary film about a mariachi singer called Jaime Garcia Dominguez, who became fascinated by the reckless, ladies’ man life- style of the classic Mexican movie characters, but with one difference: he’s got HIV. The film relates the inner maturing process that Jaime undergoes as he chooses between maintaining this lifestyle or becoming a family man.
JOSE VILLALOBOS ROMERO
Born in 1983, Guadalajara, Mexico. Started his professional career as a mechanical engineer, but his passion for arts lead him to focus more on audiovisual activities. He left engineering school and jumped right in to the Centre for Broadcasting Studies in Guadalajara in 2003.
Jose has worked as a director of short documentary films, and as an editor of short and feature documentary length films. He is currently the director, producer and cinematographer of his prime opera, the documentary story called "El Charro de Toluquilla". This film has been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute and Foprocine for production and post-production.
Finally, Jose also has experience in the field of arts as an interactive multimedia programmer and musician. He has taught for the past ten years the fields of cinematography, non-lineal editing, postproduction, algebra and infinitesimal calculus.
In 2014, Jose founded a Mexico City based production company called “Lupe & Hijos Films.
El Charro of Toluquilla is a traditional singer and cowboy, or charro who looks and dresses like the stereotypical figure you would find painted on the wall of any Mexican restaurant: the cliché of a macho man on a horse with his big mustache, a .38 on each hand, wearing a sombrero and unusual costume.
This cultural imagery is known worldwide thanks to the actors that played the role of the charro– the charming, chauvinistic womanizer, represented in movies from the golden age of Mexican cinema during the 40’s and 50’s.
I started following Jaime with a camera wherever he went, framing and recording him. Reviewing the footage of this "real life" charro, I experienced the same nostalgia, aesthetics and subtle textures of classic Mexican cinema.
His dynamic screen presence, as well as our developing relationship allowed me to share very special and intimate moments with one of the most authentic human beings I have ever met. It was later I learned that he carries a virus in his blood that has marked his life: HIV.
El Charro of Toluquilla represents two bygone eras: the golden age of Mexican cinema, which has influenced his style, attitude and personality; and the pre-AIDS era, when unprotected sex was popular and people could be carefree and reckless. Paradoxically, living with HIV has given him a certain zeal to survive and find spiritual transcendence.
As the director and photographer of this documentary I want to preserve the opportunity that Jaime gave me to film his intimate and powerful story. I have been able to offer him a nonjudgmental space where he can truly express himself. In its own way, his personal life becomes a contemporary retelling of the almost extinct charro figure.
Thanks to his magnetic charm and spontaneous and rebellious attitude, El Charro of Toluquilla provokes empathy in the different contexts in which he gets involved. Even though he is mostly politically incorrect, his testimony represents a universal and authentic voice about the human being: the desire to survive, the confrontation of ideological contradictions, the search for freedom and love, and the ultimate confrontation with death.
The concept of family also plays a central role in the story. There are many components of this film that viewers can relate to such as the father/daughter relationship. Unexpectedly, Jaime’s daughter was born HIV negative, which distorted his perception of parenthood. Additionally, the film talks about the impact of machismo culture on the institution of marriage, as well as the figure of the “mother” in the traditional Mexican family and the culturally important values of honor and rituals.
What is essentially at the root of El Charro de Toluquilla is its universality. The main character with his tremendous charisma presents a fascinating, entertaining and emotionally charged landscape that many around the world will relate to. He is human, as we all are. Jaime just shares his raw humanity through his magnetic charm and colorful personality.
I do not necessarily want to portray his reality, but to dramatically build his own fantasy through what I shoot in his everyday life, which is located in the roots of Mexican popular culture, with all its sights and sounds, but conceptually separating him as a unique character that transcends his own stereotype to be immortalized by this documentary film.
- Tribeca Film Festival, USA 2016
- Guadalajara International Film Festival — Best Iberoamerican Documentary & Audience Award, Mexico 2016
- Antenna Film Festival, Australia 2016
- Sheffield Doc/Fest, United Kingdom 2016
- Ourense International Film Festival, Spain 2016
- Zurich Film Festival, Switzerland 2016
Main Competition 2017