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Vanessa McMahon

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



Arriaga arrives at AIFF

Guillermo Arriaga arrives on red carpet with his family to inaugurate the first ever AIFF.

His directorial debut 'The Burning Plain' was screened and celebrated at the festival.

photos by: Vanessa McMahon, June 05 2010

 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:   




Arriaga arrives at AIFF
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Oscar® and Golden Globe®

Oscar® and Golden Globe® nominee Guillermo Arriaga ("Babel" "21 Grams"), whose highly acclaimed film "The Burning Plain" was screening in the festival


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