EL SALVADOR / 2019 / Spanish / Color / DCP / 81 min
Director, Script, Photography, Sound: Marlén Viñayo
Editing: Fran Barba
Sound Design: Eduardo Cáceres
Producers: Marlén Viñayo, André Guttfreund
Source: La Jaula Abierta / Marlén Viñayo
In El Salvador, five single mothers who make their livings as street vendors participate in a performance workshop, forming the troupe “La Cachada” with their instructor. As rehearsals progress, they come to confront their lives—bound up in the cycles of unjust violence against women that their whole society tolerates. The women’s acting is playful, despite the torment concealed in their bodies. Will they be able to overcome the trauma instilled within? Following La Cachada for over a year and a half, Marlén Viñayo took these women as the subject of her first feature-length work. Their captivating lives fill the screen.
[Director’s Statement] I met the characters of the film in 2010, when I traveled from Spain to El Salvador to film my thesis, a short documentary film for a local NGO focused on the care of street vendors’ children. Magaly, Magda, Ruth, Chileno and Wendy were some of these women.
It was the first time that I visited Central America and I ran into a reality that was completely foreign to me. I was twenty-three then, and I was shocked to meet women who were similar ages than I, had completely different lives than mine, and only one thought in their heads: raise their kids as well as they could.
Three years later I moved to El Salvador and I met them again, but this time they were on stage. Those shy and insecure women had formed a theater company and presented a small theatrical experiment based on their own experiences at the markets and at home. I was amazed, they were completely different women than the ones I had met. At that moment they were preparing their first professional play, that would talk about their own experiences as mothers, and I decided to film each rehearsal during the creation process.
Rehearsal after rehearsal, I began to discover their frightening experiences, marked by child abuse, teenage pregnancy, gender violence, sexual abuse, and poverty among others, and I realized that an essential transformation was happening in front of my eyes. I became a witness to an experiment through which theater empowers a group of women to discover their voice, let them rediscover and understand themselves, and become aware of the effects their violent realities have produced on them and on their children, and how this has enabled them to successfully fight and break that perverse generational inheritance.
Born in León, Spain in 1987, Marlén Viñayo is a documentary filmmaker based in El Salvador working in film and TV as a director and producer. In 2011 she graduated in Audiovisual Communication from Carlos III University (Madrid) and studied for a Masters in Documentary Filmmaking at the ESCAC (Barcelona). She has worked for PBS Frontline, CCTV Americas Now and BBC News, among others. She lives in El Salvador since 2013, where she founded her production company La Jaula Abierta. Cachada is her debut feature film and it premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival 2019, where it won the Audience Award in the “Global” category.