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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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EL MARIACHI & DESPERADO: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Antonio Banderas becomes an action hero in this super-cool film from Spanish director Robert Rodriguez. When the smoke clears, that just means he’s reloading…..

"Interested how to make a movie for US$7,000? In this great DVD package, Robert Rodriguez, director, producer, writer, editor, cameraman and sound mixer of El Mariachi and director, producer, writer, editor and steadicam operator of Desperado, explains how. Obviously, the first thing is to do more than one job yourself. Presented in widescreen, the picture quality of El Mariachi isn’t amazing but is by no means terrible. It tends to be quite grainy with less than vibrant colours along with the usual dose of film artifacts but overall it is adequately detailed. It is Rodriguez’s commentary, rather than picture quality, that is the focus of interest here. In this, one of the best commentaries I’ve heard so far, Rodriguez explains in depth the production of El Mariachi and just how to make a movie for less than $US10,000. This is of great educational value, particularly to any budding film students out there as well as being thoroughly entertaining. Did you know Rodriguez actually saved up part of the budget by being a ‘lab rat’ at a medical research centre? Along with the commentary, Rodriguez also presents us with a ‘10 minute film school’, a behind-the-scenes look at El Mariachi, which clarifies a little further what he talks about in his commentary. Well worth looking at. Other extras include Rodriguez’s debut short film, Bedhead, some filmographies and the El Mariachi trailer. The sub-title options in the disc’s menu may be of good use here because there’s no English audio dub, only the original Spanish track and an alternate German dub.

Flip the disc over and the action continues with the bigger budget sequel, Desperado. This widescreen transfer is nothing short of magnificent. The colours are brilliant and the images are very sharp with little to no film artifacts to be seen. In the sound department, you won’t be disappointed either. It is explosive. The opening shootout in the bar gives a pretty good indication of what's in store. You’ll have the neighbours ducking for cover in no time. As with El Mariachi, there’s a commentary track from Rodriguez. This time he explains how to make a movie for under $US10,000,000. This too, is a pleasure; Rodriguez never stops talking and always has something informative to say. To complement this, we’re also presented with ‘10 minutes more (anatomy of a shootout)’. This is another interesting behind the scenes doco, specifically looking at the shootout in the bar and how Rodriguez saved time by shooting the scene with a simple video camera first to get a handle on the shots he wanted. These wonderful extras offer a great insight into the world of film making, the Rodriguez way. Other extras include two music videos, filmographies and the original trailer.

This is a fantastic double movie package. Entertaining, educational and loaded with extras, all on one convenient little disc, and just what DVD is all about."
Ben Hooft



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CAST (EL MARIACHI): Carlos Gallardo, Consuelo Gomez, Peter Marquardt

CAST (DESPERADO): Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Joaquim De Almeida, Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin, Quentin Tarantino

DIRECTOR (EL MARIACHI & DESPERADO): Robert Rodriguez

AUSTRALIAN DVD RELEASE: November 15, 1999

RRP: $34.95

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

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We gratefully acknowledge the complimentary use of a DVD player from Philips.

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