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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.

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