Once Upon a Time in Mexico

  • Directors: Robert Rodriguez
  • Producers: Robert Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan, Carlos Gallardo
  • Writers: Robert Rodriguez
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes, Danny Trejo, Enrique Iglesias, Marco Leonardi, Cheech Marin, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Tito Larriva, and Willem Dafoe

The plot centers on El Mariachi (Banderas), who is recruited by CIA Agent Sands (Depp) to kill General Marquez. Marquez had murdered El Mariachi’s wife Carolina (Hayek) and child and has been hired by Mexican drug lord Armando Barillo to assassinate the Mexican President. Sands wants El Mariachi to kill Marquez after Marquez has killed the President. Sands recruits retired FBI Agent Jorge Ramirez to kill Barillo, as Barillo had been responsible for the death of Ramirez’s partner, Agent Archuleta. Sands also hires AFN Agent Ajedrez to tail Barillo.

As the plot unfolds, Cucuy and informants begin to turn on El Mariachi and Sands. On the day of the coup against the President, Sands is captured, tortured, and blinded; his eyes having been drilled out by his captors after Ajedrez reveals herself to be Barillo’s daughter. With the help of a young gum-selling boy, however, he manages to exact his revenge. Meanwhile, El Mariachi recruits his two friends, Lorenzo and Fideo, to assist him in rescuing the President. Much like Quino and Campa from Desperado, Lorenzo and Fideo also wield weapon guitar cases; in this case, Lorenzo wields a flame thrower, while Fideo has an RC Remote Bomb, which are able to destroy heavy armored vehicles. El Mariachi kills Marquez by shooting both his kneecaps and then shooting him in the head, avenging his lost wife and daughter, and goes on to assist Ramirez in killing Barillo – who falls off a balcony when El Mariachi shoots him with a lupara.

The movie ends with El Mariachi walking on a desert road into the sunset.

Nuovo cinema Paradiso

  • Directors: Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Producers: Franco Cristaldi, Giovanna Romagnoli
  • Writers: Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, Philippe Noiret, Jacques Perrin

Famous film director Salvatore Di Vita (played by real-life film producer Jacques Perrin) returns home late one evening, where his girlfriend sleepily tells him that his mother called to tell him that someone called Alfredo has died. It is made clear that Salvatore tends to shy away from committed relationships and that he has not been back to his home village, Giancaldo, Sicily, in 30 years. As she asks him who Alfredo is, Salvatore flashes back to his childhood.

The bulk of the film takes place in this flashback, which takes place shortly after World War II. We meet Salvatore, the mischievous, highly intelligent son of a war widow. Six-year-old Salvatore, whose nickname is Toto, discovers his love for films early and spends every free moment at the local moviehouse — Cinema Paradiso, where he develops a friendship with the fatherly projectionist, Alfredo, who takes a shine to the young boy and often lets him watch movies in the projection booth. Eventually he teaches Salvatore how to operate the film projector. The montage ends as the moviehouse catches fire — film in those days was made of highly flammable nitrocellulose. Salvatore saves Alfredo’s life, but not before the film reels explode in Alfredo’s face, leaving him permanently blind.

Salvatore returns to Rome. At this point in the 123-minute release, he watches Alfredo’s reel and discovers that it is a very spetial montage footage -the most recognized final scene- of this movie.