Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mexican standoff, Films and Rod

This is a blog about my passion for films and other film-related matters. As a firm believer of what Emilio Garcia Riera (Spanish film critic) once said "el cine es mejor que la vida" which roughly translates to "film is better than life", this chronicle will attempt to advocate in favor of this truth.

I love movies. Yet again, everyone loves movies. Or not? If not, everyone at least says they like movies. Well, what’s not to like about movies? The only thing I can think of is that there are just not enough of them. Movies tell stories and we’ve been telling stories for as long as humanity has existed on our beloved Earth. I believe some have theorized about the existence of a limited number of possible plots (20, 30, 36 depending on who you ask). Does it matter? What really matters is how you tell the story. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not advocating trumping substance over style, after all, substance is not reduced entirely to plot. I’m just saying that we like our stories told in exciting and new ways even if it’s a “recycled” story. A great story balances style and substance. Mmm, I don’t know why I brought that up.

Why movies? At least for me, movies show what life should be. Nevertheless, movies and life are so entangled together. Movies inform life and vice versa. This complicated relationship between life and movies is part of the reason why I love movies. We’ll get to some of the other reasons throughout this blog, suffice is to say that the first time I consciously watched a movie I knew that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship; and ahh what a beautiful friendship it has been.

Now, after watching countless movies I feel the urge to give something back through this blog. I attempted this before by writing my law degree dissertation on the legal aspects of the Auteur Theory. Now I seek to reach a larger audience and engage in fructiferous discussions, to which this blog will hopefully be the first step.

Mexican standoff you ask?

There are many reasons for this the title, the least important of them being my beloved nationality. Even though a Mexican standoff is not exclusively a film term, it is in films where it has found its most iconoclastic depictions. A Mexican standoff serves well as an element to create and maintain high dramatic tension and accentuates the confrontation of opposing forcer so natural to storytelling. If the Mexican standoff sequence is well directed it can leave a long-lasting impression on the viewer. Some of the most memorable sequences in film are from Mexican standoffs. Also, Mexican standoff sounds so much better than impasse or cul-de-sac (which have not achieved the preeminent status within film terminology as Mexican standoff). Below you can find three examples of Mexican standoffs in film. As mentioned earlier, in a Mexican standoff it doesn’t really matter the plot points that lead to it but rather the style in which it is shown to the audience. Notice that two of the clips belong to films scripted by Tarantino (who seems to greatly favor Mexican standoffs as a mean to resolve his stories), while the other is by one of the masters of cinema, Sergio Leone.

Adios amigos; for now.

Reservoir Dogs (1992), Quentin Tarantino

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Sergio Leone

True Romance (1993), Tony Scott

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