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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview with Guillermo Arriaga

Guillermo Arriaga we salute you!

One on one interview with The Burning Plain director Guillermo Arriaga. 

When beginning our one-on-one interview, I asked Guillermo if he could enlighten me on the situation between him and director Alejandro Inarritu. When I mentioned the latter's name, Arriaga replied: 'Who?'. Then I asked again and he replied with a wise smirk: 'You want me to talk about my divorce?'

That situation made clear, I avoided the sensitive subject and hit the record button and we began our in depth interview about his writing and filmmaking career.

When asked about his unconventional storytelling, he explained to me that he writes in a cyclical nature, as opposed to linear. He also writes based on different elements. In The Burning Plain, he explained that he wanted to tell a story based on the 4 elements: water, fire, earth and air; all of which can be detected in the film using rich contrasts such as the dry fiery desert to the wet moist northern California landscape. As he explained these ideas to me his eyes lit up and it was clear that more than method, Arriaga writes with instinct and soul and an expert knowingness that can hardly be explained in words. 

Arriaga once said, 'I consider myself a hunter more than a writer.' When I asked him about this, he shook his head, confirming this belief. Arriaga replied: 'I am a hunter. A hunter of ideas, of inspiration. Life is a hunt. When I grew up in the hard streets of Mexico, I understood that life is a hunt and I try to show this in all my films.' This could explain the intense nature of his stories, the heavy drama and the hope that always seems to prevail at the end despite the hard journey of the characters throughout.

From a writer to a writer, I had to ask him what it feels like to have influenced cinematic writing in such a significant way. He humbly replied that he doesnt try to change anything. He just writes what he needs to write and that is what comes out. And then he laughed when I called him the 'Marquez of Latin American cinema, or possibly for cinema as a whole.' He thought my comment ridiculous and chuckled. But aside from his humility, is it not true? Cinema is a language of time and space and Arriaga plays with this language, changing the orthodox linear storytelling mode of the Western world and reminding us of a much older primal language of the cycles not only of the human race but of nature and the elements.

I closed the interview by asking him how he felt about being the Marquez of cinematic writing. He chuckled at first and then burst into hysterics, hitting me with his magazine saying: 'Marquez! Please! I just write what I need to write!' More laughing and then a bear hug.

There can be no doubt of Arriaga's magnanimous contribution to cinematic storytelling... So, please, give us more Mr. Arriaga. We salute you!!


see complete interview here:   



A big bravo for his first directorial debut in The Burning Plain! BRAVO!!


Interview by Vanessa McMahon

me and Guillermo






see film trailer here:




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