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ARTS & BOOKS May 2007
A new Tarantino-Rodriguez diptych
by Thomas BORDIER & Marie-Dominique BEAU

Grindhouse is the latest cinematographic product of a long and fruitful collaboration between directors Quentin Tarantino and Roberto Rodriguez.

The Tarentino-Rodriguez connection goes back fifteen years now. In 1992, Mexican director Roberto Rodriguez wrote and directed his first movie El Mariachi on a very low budget. At the time, American director Quentin Tarantino became world famous thanks to Reservoir Dogs. After seeing El Mariachi, Tarentino approached Rodriguez and asked him if he would agree to collaborate on a sequel to El Mariachi. Within three years, the pair had written and shot Desperado, starring Antonio Banderas and Steve Buscemi.

Given their initial success together, they carried on and in 1996 they co-authored the screenplay of From Dusk Till Dawn to be later directed by Rodriguez. Then they decided to part ways. When in 2005 Rodriguez adapted the comic book Sin City on screen, Tarantino wanted to collaborate but in the end his schedule was too full. Eventually they decided to produce a science fiction film in two parts entitled Grindhouse.

Grindhouse is a diptych composed of Death Proof by Tarentino and Planet Terror by Rodriguez.
Death Proof stars Kurt Russell and Rosario Dawson and focuses on a psychopath named Stuntman Mike, who kills women with his car.
Planet Terror, starring Rose McGowan and Freddy Rodriguez, tells the story of a little town invaded by zombies and defended by a woman who has a machine gun in place of a leg. (See picture for anatomy details)

In English-speaking countries, Grindhouse will be screened in one go. In most other countries, the movie will be separated in two parts which is a source of major disappointment for the directors.
So far Grindhouse has not fared so well in the US box office. The length of the movie might have something to do with it: 3 hours of psychopaths and zombies can seem a little daunting.

Sources :
"I was a teenage grindhouse freak," The Guardian 3 March 2007. official website.

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