Movie Recommendation: El Mariachi (1992)

What’s the baddest you’ve wanted to do something? And what’s the maddest you have done to make it happen? Nope, losing 4 kgs after five months of dieting and ‘power yoga’ doesn’t count. Nope, giving up drinking forever – on one day of the week – doesn’t count either. And no, being a dumba** on national television to appear in a reality show definitely doesn’t count (okay maybe it does for us, just a little bit).

If the above paragraph isn’t already making you feel worthless, this will do the trick – Robert Rodriguez, who went on to make the cult Sin City and Desperado, volunteered as a lab rat in an experimental drug clinic for 30 days, to raise $3000 – so he can use that money along with only $4000 more to write, producer, direct, shoot and edit his debut feature film, El Mariachi. The only reason Rodriguez didn’t act in the movie too is because there was no one else to operate the camera!

Frequent collaborator of Quentin Tarantino, who incidentally debuted with his Reservoir Dogs in the same year, Rodriguez burst onto the international movie scene with this film that he had originally intended as a straight-to-DVD release. But when the local video market rejected it, he had no option but to send it to bigger distributors. Columbia Pictures picked up the movie, invested more than 10 times the original budget in marketing it, and the rest is history.

The story of Rodriguez’ phenomenal rise to fame is not more incredulous than how the maverick director – only 23 at the time of making this movie – put it all together. Crazy stories include how a broken hospital wheelchair was used for tracking shots instead of the conventional camera accessory called ‘dolly’. Or how water pistols were used instead of real guns to save on budget. Or even how local journalists who were critical of the shoot were given parts in the movie!

The movie, about a wandering guitar player aka El Mariachi, who gets caught in a gang war after being mistaken for a criminal, is, incidentally, one of the coolest action films you’d ever see. The story revolves around Filmed in approximately .00000000000001 times the budget of a Michael Bay film, the movie is a lesson in filmmaking for amateurs (and masters) on how to kick ass in whatever money you have – especially if you don’t have any money!

Starring: Carlos Gallardo, Consuelo Gómez, Jaime de Hoyos
Written By: Robert Rodriguez
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

Note: This recommendation first appeared in MTV Noise Factory, May 2012 issue
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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