Tribeca Film Festival 2010 Preview: Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s Sentimental Engine Slayer

On tonight’s Tribeca Preview, we take a look at a film that I cannot wait to see more of. One of the more innovative, beautiful, and haunting bands to come across my radar over the past 5 years has to be The Mars Volta, with Omar Rodriguez Lopez on guitar. This film, Sentimental Engine Slayer, filmed in 2007, is finally premiering this month at the Tribeca Film Festival, and from what I hear from Rudie, this movie sounds as challenging and innovative as the albums Rodriguez has produced.

Sentimental Engine Slayer will be screening on April 22nd, 23rd, 25th, and 27th. For a complete list of screenings, visit the Tribeca Film Festival homepage. You can also visit the filmmakers website as well as become a fan on the film on Facebook.

Barlam is a timid, twentysomething grocery bagger lurching clumsily toward manhood in the dusty US-Mexico border town of El Paso, Texas. He’s been feeling anxious recently’¦ something about the humdrum of everyday life doesn’t fit quite right. His addict sister Nati’”equal parts charm and damage’”clicks in too well with their borderline incestuous dynamic and gets caught up in Barlam’s obsession with a Puerto Rican boy who looks just like him. Thing is, this boy might be the missing piece to their broken family history. Soon Barlam is descending into a seedy underworld where reality and fantasy entangle, masculinity and belonging are thrown into crisis, and flippant humor reveals disillusionment, desire, and rage. And there are some pretty imaginative narcotics, too’¦.

Dripping with sexuality and exuberance in tongues that bounce between Spanish and English, The Sentimental Engine Slayer flickers hot and sweaty with the fluorescent colors of a distinctly Southwest American landscape. This extraterrestrial, semi-autobiographical tale told with boomerang fragmentation and psychedelic sound design gives the director/writer/star Omar Rodriguez Lopez away as the sonic force behind the Grammy-winning fusion rockers The Mars Volta. It also makes Rodriguez’s directorial debut a piercingly clear pronouncement that a rare and riveting voice has emerged for independent American cinema.

–Roya Rastegar


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