The Gasoline Thieves 'Huachicolero'
“I don’t know who you are but tell the idiots that sent you that this site is mine.”
‘The Gasoline Thieves’ is a simple story, a tragedy about a young boy who lets love blind him, takes the wrong path because of cultural pressure and his overall naïve-ness of his harsh world. The film also acts as an informative tool to bring awareness to the gasoline issues in Mexico.
On January 19, 2019, there was a massive explosion in Hidalgo, Mexico that killed 79 people. The explosion was blamed on the gasoline thieves for puncturing a gas line. This is a problem that was brought on by skyrocketing gas prices which created a demand for cheap costing gas that is provided illegally. This gas problem has drawn a line between the government and its people as both sides are at each other’s throat. The people see the government as useless and criticizes them for going after gasoline thieves. While the Government sees the gasoline thieves as the problem of increasing gas prices and are trying to prevent more loss for the national oil company Pemex, which claimed it lost more than $3 billion annually.
“Yet another day of violence in Mexico sparked by the rise in gas prices. Hundreds of people protest the government while the President failed in his attempt to appease their frustrations contending surging prices are a necessary evil.”
‘The Gasoline Thieves’ quickly catches your attention with a tension building score and the fast pace of the street lines going by on the road. In the darkness of the night, we are given a crash course in stealing gas by two rival gasoline thieves. Out of the darkness, we are introduced to Mariano (Pascacio López) and Rulo (Pedro Joaquín) who quickly kill one of their rivals. Mariano leaves one them alive and tells him to warn others that this is his site. Then Mario and Rulo take the dead rival and leave him in the middle of a gas refinery with his pants down and his shirt pulled up as a form of marking their territory. As the crescendo of the music hits so does the original title, ‘Huachicolero’, which means a person dedicated to the theft and illicit sale of motor fuel. It was a harsh and bloody introduction to the antagonist of the film, “the world” that our protagonist is going to venture into.
“This is a lamp not a smartphone. You need a camera so you can take selfies, and what’s up app!”
From here on we follow the requiem of Lalo (Eduardo Banda) in the town of Guanajuato, a young boy who falls head over heels for Ana (Regina Reynoso). Both of which did an impressive performance that should be celebrated and awarded for their excellence in the film. Lalo’s journey starts by showing his humble beginnings of going to work on a small farm of Don Gil (Fernando Becerril), then showing his concerned mother (Myriam Bravo) and finally a boy, whose heart is crushed and his naïve ways is pressured by school girls in the battlefield of a school yard in a high school.
Lalo approaches Ana and her two friends. He nervously askes Ana to be his girlfriend but Lalo quickly gets rejected. Ana and her friends give him a quick lesson of school yard courtship by mocking his phone by calling it a lamp. That girls should be given gifts before becoming an item, an iphone. Lalo stops by a store to find out the cost of the iphone but it was out of his price range. Obsessed and determined, Lalo goes on a mission to fill up his piggy bank to buy that iphone.
“You do understand family comes first, don’t you my son?”
The Latino cultural revolves around our religion or the strong family bond. Latinos would do anything to help or protect their family but sometimes that bond can be a heavy burden on a child. One day Lalo notices that all his money is missing. It turns out that his mother used it to buy medicine for a family member. That’s when Lalo gets that line, “You do understand family comes first?” it’s that family guilt trip. This action by his mother triggers Lalo to make desperate decisions on the path of easy fast money.
“If you’re from the corner. Fuck the police! Fuck the family!” –“Alebrestados”, Santa Fe Klan
Desperate, Lalo ventures into the world of stealing gas. Here he meets Mariano and Rulo, who guide him through a dangerous and lucrative lifestyle of a huachicolero. Quickly, Lalo transforms to a clean cut young man that repays his debts to Don Gil, surprises his mom with a gift and finally gets that iphone for Ana. Which she declines it in favor of getting to know him on a date. It is finally paradise for Lalo but just like life can throw you a bone it can easily take it away. Rulo becomes a rival to Lalo for the love of Ana. This rivalry escalates to a nightmare of mixed blood and gas as the flaming pipelines light up the night sky as “Esta Noche La Paso Contigo” by Los Ángeles Negros plays to a tragic end that will permanently scar you for life and make you understand the loss on innocence that the gas problem is causing in Mexico.
“Tomorrow I’ll leave, my love. But tonight. But tonight. I’ll spend it with you.” -“Esta Noche La Paso Contigo”, Los Ángeles Negros
Even though this is a fictional story, Director Edgar Nito Arrache, showed us the brutal truth of his own town. This is Edgar’s first feature film and he did an extraordinary and brave job as ‘The Gasoline Thieves’ is a gem at the Tribeca Film Festival. I also have to say that cinematography by Juan Pablo Ramírez A.M.C. is mesmerizing with capturing the natural grit of a torn town and the deadly yet beautiful night flaming sky of the gas refineries. This is definitely a must see film at Tribeca.
‘The Gasoline Thieves‘ premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25th. The finale screening is on May 2nd at Regal Cinemas Battery Park at 5:30PM. For ticket information please visit: www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/gasoline-thieves-2019
For more on ‘The Gasoline Thieves‘ read the interviews with Cast and Crew done by Latin Horror at the Tribeca Film Festival: latinhorror.com/tribeca-2019-interview-gasoline-thieves/