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Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Nick C., Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

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    Just caught a screening, very interesting stuff from the writer behind Amores Perros and 21 Grams, directed and starring Tommy Lee Jones.

    If anyone caught it, perhaps they might help me understand:
    why Melquiades Estrada's "wife" did not recognize him/his name when Pete and Mike brought him back. If indeed the town ruins were of Jimenez, is the wife just trying to put away memories of her past, Melquiades included?
     
  2. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    I don't think it's playing in the hinterlands until February. I saw the trailer and it looked interesting. I'll see it based on that and the good notices it's received at festivals.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Right now, it's playing for a week in New York and L.A. to qualify for Oscar consideration. I'm hoping to see it this weekend.

    M.
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The following is my answer to Nick C.'s original question. It goes to a critical plot point; so if you plan to see this film during its regular release next February, do not read the spoiler:

    She isn't his wife and never was. She doesn't know Melquiades and never did. The town of Jiminez does not exist. The town and the family are fantasies that have comforted Melquiades during a lonely five years in America. The giveaway is the photograph, which you never see clearly until the end of the film; the woman is posed with her three children, but Melquiades is not part of the group. He is in the background, as if he just happened to be walking past when the photograph was taken.

    The "town" that Pete declares to be Jiminez is nothing more than some ruins in the middle of nowhere, probably an abandoned farmhouse. Pete honors Melquiades' request by adopting his fantasy and creating the mythical place where Melquiades wanted to be buried.
    M.
     
  5. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

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    Thank you sir, makes much more sense now [​IMG]
     
  6. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    This film has been mentioned in other threads, but that's not good enough for work of this quality.
    Saw this last Sunday and I've been suggesting it to everyone in sight since then.
    Tommy Lee Jones directed and stars along with Barry Pepper.
    Jones play a rancher whose best friend, Melquiades, has been shot and killed by a Border Patrol Agent (Pepper).
    The rancher had already been made to swear that if Senor Estrada died, his body would be returned to his tiny village in Mexico.
    This story is partially based on a real incident along the border that I remember well from just a few years ago. A United States Marine shot an killed a young goat herder who was literally minding his own business.
    Back to our film....
    Direction, acting, locations, music....
    It was all terrific and if this is playing near you I hope you'll consider it.
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Including this one, with which your thread has now been merged.

    The search function may not be the greatest, but it works pretty well with a term like "Estrada". [​IMG]

    M.
     
  8. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Thanks Michael. :b
     
  9. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    Yes, very good film; saw it myself just last weekend. I liked how Jones' character insisted on the dignity of his friend when everyone else treated him as disposable.
     
  10. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned
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    I recommend it to everyone. I haven't seen a Texas film this good since THE BALLAD OF GREGORIO CORTEZ, which it reminds me of, with perhaps some inspiration from Cormac MacCarthy and Peckinpah's BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA. A literate, inventive and thoughtful contemporary western superbly realized.

    If Tommy Lee Jones makes 10 more contemporary westerns this good, he will recover from his self-emasculation for THE MISSING and redeem himself.
     
  11. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    No love for Lone Star ?
     
  12. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    A whole lotta love for Lone Star (1996) from me. I would make it a trilogy with The Border (1982) which just came in the mail today.
     
  13. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned
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    Yes indeed, I love LONE STAR. How could I forget. It digs deep, aims high and wide, and hits the bullseye every time. One of the few truly great contemporary westerns. But for some reason, THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA doesn't remind me of LONE STAR the way BALLAD OF GREGORIO CORTEZ and BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA do.

    I appreciated THE HI-LO COUNTRY, too, and know that country very well, although not as well as the border.

    Notice how observant the women characters in THREE BURIALS are written and portrayed. The young wife sees herself becoming just like the older waitress -- cynical, resigned, and promiscuous. She has to get out of the there, but the older waitress misses this point, even though she's sympatico. Damn good writing.

    I also like the nude scene. Rarely is an actress in her mid-to-late forties offered the chance to steal the entire film away from its stars, which she does with style. That body has seen some mileage, which gives the nude scene a kind of funny, down-to-earth charm.

    The best contemporary westerns are always character-driven. The acting in THREE BURIALS is tuned very fine.
     
  14. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned
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    LONE STAR isn't about outlaws, although it does operate on certain assumptions about the past that may be misconstrued.

    THREE BURIALS, ALFREDO GARCIA, and GREGORIO CORTEZ are about outlaws, as in social outcasts, so they remind me of one another.
     
  15. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Perplexed I am.

    Lone Star is about a lot of things but since the central plot focuses on figuring out who murdered a crooked sheriff, it's a little casual to claim it's not about outlaws.
     
  16. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned
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    Mr. Gale,

    LONE STAR is not about outlaws.

    Corruption, yes.
    And a lot of other things.
    But not outlaws.
     
  17. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Sheriff Charlie Wade was a murderer and took bribes, that makes him an outlaw.
    Buddy Deeds took bribes, that makes him an outlaw.
    Otis was involved in illegal gambling and after hours liquor sales. That makes for an outlaw.
    There was illegal border crossing, all outlaws.
    A restaurant owner started her business with stolen money. Outlawess.
    Someone (I'm not going to spoil that) shot the sheriff.

    Now tell me why The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada was about outlaws and Lone Star was not.
     
  18. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Started off well enough (initial confusion notwhistanding), but quickly devolved into a very unpleasant experience. I do not enjoy watching movies about people I do not like AND I find uniteresting. Especially when they're engaged in behaviour which varies from reprehensible to psychotic. Whatever empathy I felt was for Pepper's character, making the experience all the more difficult to sit through.

    I didn't buy into the last line of the movie and the sentiments it conveyed either. As a matter of fact, it made me angry.

    The women's subplot is just about the only part I found interesting. Good performances, normal given the tatelnt involved. None of that redeems the whole thing.

    Michael's explanation is my reading as well.

    I've waited for this one for a couple of months, and my dissapointment is pretty big. I trust my opinion will be in the minority. I realize this post is a collection of "I felt this and that" but that's the best I can muster right now. I have no interest in evaluating this work beyond that level.

    --
    H
     
  19. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned
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    Mr. Gale

    I don't define "outlaw" in the country music sense. Country music has thrown too wide a loop around the term "outlaw." My definition of outlaw is more specific. An outlaw is running from the law in a chase or a manhunt plot because he committed a crime that can be justified morally but not legally. An outlaw is usually a social outcast. He doesn't fit in with society.

    The characters in LONE STAR are not outcasts, they mingle together in an uneasy alliance.



    Tommy Lee Jones is a poor cowboy who is tolerated but not really accepted, that makes him a social outcast, which helps to qualify him as an outlaw. He kidnaps an officer, steals a body and tries to escape with it across the border. His intentions are for the best, and he has our sympathies, but what he did breaks the law. The law chases him, and he runs away. That makes him an out-law.
     
  20. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Its NOT PLAYING in MEXICO! Some press coverage here, IMDB shows it as out, but nothing at the local theaters...I figured the movie chains would go for this one big time, given the subject matter and the fact that they worship the writers previous 2 films. Guess I'm waiting on the R1 DVD.
     

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