Here’s a Mexican take on the story of Santa Claus. It was released in 1959 and then dubbed into English for a 1960 release. It was directed by René Cardona. The story has Santa working in space and relying on his assistant, Merlin the Wizard, to battle with the Devil’s minion who is sent to ruin Christmas. Even though it won several awards and was featured on television stations during the 60s and 70s, it is widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever made! But I enjoy the Mexican flavor that permeates all the typical North Pole settings.
Director Robert Rodriquez shows how he put several sequences together for his low-budget first feature, El Mariachi. His solutions for working with a single camera and extremely limited resources are ingenious. His consistent recommendation to young low-budget filmmakers is to simply refuse to spend any money on anything. After watching this film it becomes very apparent that the only thing really preventing people from making films is a simple lack of ability.
For further study, Mubi.com has nice in-depth article called 30 Minute Film School that covers all the shot types and lighting setups one needs in order to make a narrative film.
Here’s a fascinating continuation of the 10-minute film school in which Rodriguez shows how he filmed a complex shootout for Desperado with Antonio Banderas by using a video camera to pre-plan the entire sequence.
Tomorrow, Saturday November 20 through Sunday November 21, MUBI.com presents a free screening of Revolución. Ten directors contributed films to the project which looks back at the violent upheaval of the Mexican Revolution and compares conditions then to the situation today in Mexico.
The MUBI screening event has a Facebook page with more information.
Go here to attend the MUBI screening of Revolución.
Cancel your trip to the Grand Canyon. In fact, if you’re in Arizona right now, get the hell out as quickly as you can. The state of Arizona has passed a measure, signed into law by its governor, Jan Brewer, that requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally. All immigrants will be required to carry their proof of legal immigration on their person at all times. This means that a police officer standing on a street corner drinking a cup of coffee can spot a person across the street and decide, based on anything the officer chooses (skin tone, for example) that the person might be an illegal immigrant. The officer can then walk across the street, say he suspects the person of ‘loitering,’ and demand proof of their legal status in the United States. If that person cannot produce the paperwork, the officer can arrest them. The loitering thing is key because the Arizona law supposedly requires that the police be investigating some possible infraction before they can ask for proof of legal immigration. But a cop can find almost any reason to suspect almost anyone of some minor infraction like ‘loitering.’ I loiter all the time.
Arizona, by enacting such a law, has aligned itself with similar laws in Nazi Germany, the former Soviet Union, apartheid South Africa, and the post-slavery American South which used ‘vagrancy’ laws to arrest black people who could not prove that they were employed. Apparently, the majority of residents in Arizona approve of the new law. By definition, Arizona becomes Bigot Land. One of the most important protections offered by a free democracy is the protection against unreasonable search and seizure. No police officer anywhere in the United States can simply demand that a person produce papers proving their legal status. But they can in Arizona as soon as this law goes into effect sometime in the next few months.
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu says:
I am saddened today at the prospect of a young Hispanic immigrant in Arizona going to the grocery store and forgetting to bring her passport and immigration documents with her. I cannot be dispassionate about the fact that the very act of her being in the grocery store will soon be a crime in the state she lives in. Or that, should a policeman hear her accent and form a “reasonable suspicion” that she is an illegal immigrant, she can — and will — be taken into custody until someone sorts it out, while her children are at home waiting for their dinner.