The Cinema of Robert Rodriguez
187 pages, 6 x 9
31 b&w photos
Paperback
Release Date:15 Oct 2014
ISBN:9780292761247
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The Cinema of Robert Rodriguez

University of Texas Press

Robert Rodriguez stands alone as the most successful U.S. Latino filmmaker today, whose work has single-handedly brought U.S. Latino filmmaking into the mainstream of twenty-first-century global cinema. Rodriguez is a prolific (eighteen films in twenty-one years) and all-encompassing filmmaker who has scripted, directed, shot, edited, and scored nearly all his films since his first breakout success, El Mariachi, in 1992. With new films constantly coming out and the launch of his El Rey Network television channel, he receives unceasing coverage in the entertainment media, but systematic scholarly study of Rodriguez’s films is only just beginning.

The Cinema of Robert Rodriguez offers the first extended investigation of this important filmmaker’s art. Accessibly written for fans as well as scholars, it addresses all of Rodriguez’s feature films through Spy Kids 4 and Machete Kills, and his filmmaking process from initial inspiration, to script, to film (with its myriad visual and auditory elements and choices), to final product, to (usually) critical and commercial success. In addition to his close analysis of Rodriguez’s work, Frederick Luis Aldama presents an original interview with the filmmaker, in which they discuss his career and his relationship to the film industry. This entertaining and much-needed scholarly overview of Rodriguez’s work shines new light on several key topics, including the filmmaker’s creative, low-cost, efficient approach to filmmaking; the acceptance of Latino films and filmmakers in mainstream cinema; and the consumption and reception of film in the twenty-first century.

Aldama does more than hit his marks: he has created an exhilarating, accessible and much-needed study of one of the most inventive and multifaceted directors to come along during the last thirty years. It is a ‘must read’ for anyone who wishes to become a filmmaker or who simply loves movies. La Bloga
Rodriguez gained cinematic notoriety with the image of a guitar case that concealed not
a musical instrument but a weapon. In similar fashion, Aldama’s book contains many surprises
and sharp-edged tools for thinking about the crossroads of film, politics, and identity. . .
An explosive text!
Alex Rivera, director of Sleep Dealer
Aldama provides an engaging and wide-ranging exploration of one of the most
iconoclastic directors working in Hollywood—someone who has pushed the boundaries of how
films get made, how they tell stories, and who gets to tell these stories both in front of
and behind the camera. The most comprehensive book on Robert Rodriguez not written by the
director himself!
Chon Noriega, Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA and author of Shot in
America: Television, the State, and the Rise of Chicano Cinema
The Cinema of Robert Rodriguez is a foundational text on one of the most significant
artists of this generation. Applying a diverse range of approaches—cognitive, film
theoretical, philosophical, and cultural and media studies—Aldama examines Rodriguez’s
entire multi-genre corpus within its aesthetic, sociopolitical, and cultural contexts. This
virtuoso analysis shows how Rodriguez’s films create new aesthetic objects and fictional
worlds that partake in and impact the social realities to which they refer. Aldama shows how
these visual texts expand our perceptions and widen our affective landscape, making us open
to new possible futures. This is a truly remarkable work that will fascinate fans, film
lovers, and film scholars alike.
Camilla Fojas, Vincent de Paul Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul
University and author of Border Bandits: Hollywood on the Southern Frontier
Exhilarating to read, Aldama’s brilliantly argued and refreshing take on Rodriguez’s
career and accomplishments is a very welcome addition to the Latino studies bookshelf. Much
talked about but rarely studied in depth, Rodriguez’s extraordinary and extensive cinematic
oeuvre has long been deserving of the kind of critically astute analysis and detailed
attention Aldama offers. Read The Cinema of Robert Rodriguez and you will know why Rodriguez
is our new millennial Latino filmmaker par excellence.
Ana M. López, Professor and Associate Provost at Tulane University and coeditor of
Ethnic Eye: Latino Media Arts
The Cinema of Robert Rodríguez is a fascinating book that makes you see Rodríguez’s
films in a new way. Meticulously researched, imaginatively conceived, and eloquently
written, the book tells a captivating story about the filmmaker’s visual sensibility and
inventive DIY approach to making films on his own terms. A masterful critical guide, Aldama
takes us into the heart of Robert Rodríguez’s creative universe. This book is a true
pleasure to read!
Rosa-Linda Fregoso, Professor and Chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and
author of The Bronze Screen: Chicana and Chicano Film Culture
FREDERICK LUIS ALDAMA is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at the
Ohio State University, where he founded and directs LASER/Latino and Latin American Space
for Enrichment and Research.
  • Foreword: A Teaser before the Show by Charles Ramírez Berg
  • Acknowledgments
  • Art and Industry: The Films of Robert Rodriguez
  • Good, Bad, Ugly . . . and Beautiful
    • El Mariachi (1992)
    • Desperado (1995)
    • Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
  • Regenerative Aesthetics of Degenerate Genres
    • From Dusk till Dawn (1996)
    • The Faculty (1998)
  • Familia Redefined, Chocolate Rivers, Rainbow Rocks, Dreamscapes, and S'mores
    • Spy Kids 1 (2001)
    • Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002)
    • Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)
    • Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011)
    • The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (2005)
    • Shorts (2009)
  • Tour de Noir Comic-Book Film
    • Sin City (2005)
  • Otherworldly Mutants, Bandidas, Borderland Vigilantes . . . Fight Back
    • Planet Terror (2007)
    • Machete (2010)
    • Machete Kills (2013)
  • It's a Wrap
  • Interview with Robert Rodriguez
  • Filmography
  • References
  • Index
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