El Mariachi

From Academic Kids

El Mariachi is a 1992 motion picture production directed by Robert Rodriguez as the first chapter in his Mariachi Trilogy.

It was a commercial and artistic success, inspiring a new wave of young producers to film low-budget movies such as Clerks and The Blair Witch Project.

It was shot in the northern Mexican border town of Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila completely in Spanish, using primarily amateur actors and on a budget of only USD $7,000. It was initially intended only for the Hispanic home video market, and Rodriguez never thought an American release was a possibility. Executives at Columbia Pictures liked the film so much that they bought the rights to it for American distribution. Columbia eventually spent several multiples more than the film's original production budget on 35 millimeter film transfers (it had been shot on 16 millimeter), a marketing campaign and the eventual distribution/release of the film. It was so well received that they eventually chose to finance the second part of the trilogy, Desperado and then the final chapter, Once Upon a Time In Mexico.

It tells the story of an out of work musician (the Mariachi) traveling through Mexico. He arrives in the small border town of Acuña, hoping to find work in some of the local Cantinas and clubs. Unfortunately for "El", local drug dealers mistake him for a recently escaped convict who is looking for revenge against them and has been shooting up locals with a guitar case filled with hand-guns. As the story progresses, "El" falls in love with a woman who helps him hide from those who are trying to kill him, and eventually sees her die at the hands of those same men. He seeks revenge for all he has been put through.

El Mariachi won multiple international awards, and writer/producer/director Rodriguez went on to gain international fame, being interviewed on such shows as Sábado Gigante, etc; and going on to make more, Hollywood-backed movies, such as The Faculty.

The 2nd film, Desperado, helped enhance the fame of Antonio Banderas and introduced Salma Hayek to English-speaking audiences.

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