For a long time, Puerto Rican astrologer and psychic Walter Mercado transfixed audiences worldwide along with his flamboyant horoscope readings and, equally so, his extravagant costumes and gender-fluid presentation.
At the height of his profession within the 1990s, Mercado reached an estimated 120 million viewers a day. Around 150 radio stations carried his programming. He consulted with high ministers and presidents, along with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Exterior of his dramatics and opulent capes, Mercado’s ultimate messages of admire and light made him a beacon of hope and one of many excellent celebrities within the field.
Then he disappeared.
After a six-12 months merely war along with his supervisor, Mercado all however went into seclusion.
Till documentary filmmakers Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch tracked him down.
Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legacy of Walter Mercado is an intimate portrait of Mercado, masking every part from his childhood in Ponce, Puerto Rico, to his early profession as a dancer and stage actor, to his eventual ascendence to global reputation—and, after all, his decline from the spotlight.
“Walter is this kind of particular figure. He would no longer delight in to dwell on the detrimental ingredients of his lifestyles,” Tabsch says. “That used to be doubtlessly the hardest factor to rep him to birth up about, those sophisticated years along with his merely battles. We spent two years with Walter filming. So in that time we gained his believe. That used to be paramount to rep the access that we did—to rep the actual person on the help of the cape, whenever you happen to will.”
“It’s easy to mediate that Walter a punchline. It’s easy to be enthralled with the fabulousness. And I underestimated how lustrous he is,” Costantini says. “His entire shtick—the capes and the jewelry and the sequins—had been phase of his idea of human nature. He says, ‘I wear these capes, this hair, this jewelry, all these monotonous things, so that americans hear to my more essential message of admire and peace.’”
In a manner, Mucho Mucho Amor used to be blueprint up as a comeback legend. Here used to be this gargantuan vast name who survived no longer handiest an intense merely war over his contract and the rights to his occupy name, however also a coronary heart assault no longer lengthy after it used to be over. No subject the profession setbacks, Mercado never worn from his fans’ minds. Costantini and Tabsch captured the lead as much as an extraordinary existing of Mercado’s lifestyles and profession at HistoryMiami Museum ultimate August. It used to be his first major public look in years, and his joy of amassed being in an area to lead so many participants all over so many generations is among the more touching moments within the doc.
Alternatively, proper three months after the present, Mercado handed away.
“We in actual fact urged the legend on the ultimate doable moment,” Costantini says. “We didn’t are conscious of it used to be more of a swan tune than more of a comeback legend.”
Costantini says they submitted their doc to Sundance the day sooner than Mercado died on November 2. After he handed, they went help to Puerto Rico to shoot more footage, along with Mercado’s funeral.
“We edited a obvious ending, along with about a of that footage. Within the pause, we cherished our usual ending greater,” Costantini says. “We felt delight in it used to be truer to Walter’s message that he is more than proper his physique, that his message is what’s essential.”
For Costantini and Tabsch, that message has a explicit resonance in on the present time’s climate.
“We’re in a roundabout arrangement having true conversations now about gender identification and gender expression—Walter used to be having those conversations with us 30, 40 years within the past,” Tabsch says. “Sooner than the timeframe gender abnormal existed, sooner than non-binary used to be a view that we are in a position to also mediate of, he used to be telling us that the future is genderless. And, in that manner, the film feels of the moment, and Walter feels that extraordinary more essential for the LGBTQ neighborhood.”
“We’re living in a time when so a lot of our leaders are intent on reminding us of why we are in a position to also merely amassed abominate varied of us, why we’re varied from varied of us, why varied of us are out to rep us. And I mediate this message of admire that Walter has preached for goodbye is more wanted to hear now,” Costantini says. “If this film can also rep of us to be conscious that, that would possibly perhaps well fabricate me very entirely happy. There’s with out a doubt a kind of room for more admire within the field.”
Mucho Mucho Amor premieres on Netflix July 8.