Skip to main content

EL MARIACHI

USA, 1992 (MIFF 1993)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Wildly energetic and resourceful, this action-adventure/romantic-comedy hybrid must be, at $7,000, the cheapest feature ever picked up for release by a major Hollywood studio (Columbia Pictures also plans a 6 million dollar remake). Winner of the Audience Award at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, El Mariachi is an amazing debut feature for 24-year-old Texas filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (His short, Bedhead, screened at MFF 91).

The story follows a lone mariachi (guitar player) who arrives in a Mexican border town at the same time as a hit man, freshly sprung from jail. The two men both wear black but only one plays guitar! Mistaken identity and violent confrontations ensue as the mariachi finds himself ushered into a violent underworld.

Along with his friend Carlos Gallardo (who co-wrote, co-produced and plays the lead), Rodriguez has created a tex-Mex 'burrito western', which pays homage to the influences of Sergio Leone, George Miller and south-of-border film noir. Intially intended as a Spanish kingo crime caper for the Latino video market, El Mariachi exceeds expectations, with its stylish send-ups of genre conventions, speeded-up action sequences and abundant injections of humour.

See also...

Bedhead

Sibling rivalry has rarely been represented with such gusto, humour or unashamed violence as a young Mexican American girl finally decides to teach her brother - a cruel youth suffering from an ... More »

MY HOME, MY PRISON

My Home, My Prison is based on the autobiography of Palestinian journalist Raymonda Tawil, one of the first Palestinians to engage Israelis in dialogue (after the 1967 Six Day War) twenty-four years ... More »

It wasn't Love

In her earlier work, Benning develops a filmic language that tests and gives provisionary representation to the very intimate world of her bedroom, and what it means to be Sadie growing up (and out) ... More »

El Otro Lado

In places almost like a surveillance film, Alex Webb's El Otro Lado (The Other Side) follows the desperate flight of Mexicans trying to cross illegally into the USA. ... Check out the Talking Picture ... More »

SWOON

... ... This first feature by Tom Kalin is a styhsh, fanciful and challenging interpretation of the lives of Chicago's favourite lovers and murderers, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. ... ... ... In ... More »

The Clean-up

When Carver came into Anna's life she thought she'd met her match. They were both obsessed by detail. She's an architect. He's a plastic sur­geon. They both would have died for perfec­tion ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director