Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
December 09
El Mariachi February 26, 1994
El Mariachi opens

"If Robert Rodriguez didn't exist, independent filmmakers would have to invent him," wrote Peter Broderick in Filmmaker magazine about the director's first feature, El Mariachi, which opened in theaters on February 26, 1994. The film was famously made by the 23-year-old filmmaker for a budget of $7,225, crewed by his brother and sister, and with funding Rodriguez raised from a series of medical testing procedures he enrolled himself in. A rare indie action film, El Mariachi was an early example of the "no-budget movie," a film made for a tiny fraction of a Hollywood film and which impresses viewers with the ingenuity of its filmmaking solutions. Said Rodriguez at the time, "The nice thing about making a movie by yourself is that you can take credit for any aspect of it anyone likes."


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December 9, 1973
Don't Look Now released

On December 9, 1978, Nicolas Roeg's iconic Venice-set chiller Don't Look Now went on release in New York City.

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December 9, 1973
Looking at Don't Look Now

When British director Nicolas Roeg’s perverse thriller Don’t Look Now hit American theaters, not everyone was happy. In the New York Times review, Vincent Canby claimed that when this “fragile soap bubble of a horror film” ends, “you may feel, as I did, that you've been had.” Adapted from a Daphne Du Maurier short story, Don’t Look Now previewed many of the director’s upcoming themes—chaotic, realistic sex; disjunctive narrative montages; storylines that collapse the psychological and the supernatural. Here a young couple (Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland), traumatized by the recent drowning of their young daughter, comes to Venice for a working holiday and possible relief from their grief. What they find instead is a mystery lost in the maze of Venice’s back streets and canals and shrouded in the city’s famous fog. And while some find the film’s enigmatic style off-putting, more have found it unforgettable. The sex scene, which was thrown in at the last moment, has become so infamous that for years people have questioned whether it was real or simulated. The film’s fractured shooting style remains a model for how to transform a city into a cinematic character. And the infamous chase of a girl in a red raincoat has been referenced by films as diverse as the torture porn hit Hostel to the comedy In Bruges to James Bond’s Casino Royale to many music videos. 

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