The Magazine of Independent Film

The one song we see the mariachi sing on camera was composed and recorded in less than an hour. Rodriguez worked with a musician who was on a lunch break from his job. "He was expected to write the song magically before our eyes, and he did. We were desperate. The first notes he started playing as a warm-up became the song. I videotaped him as he composed it so he wouldn’t forget what he just played. We then wrote one verse, and that as all we needed for the movie. We recorded the song right there after he composed it. One take with words; one take without.

"That was midday, and we didn’t actually film the scene until later that night. This gave the mariachi some time to practice lip-sync and guitar fingerings. If you watch the movie closely, you realize that wasn’t enough time for him to practice. He syncs the first line perfectly, but after that he is all over the place. So in the final edit you see him singing only the first line and parts of two other lines. The camera stays on the girl through the majority of the scene. I used everything I had shot of the girl to fill those holes. Overall, it came out well considering my mariachi can’t sing or play guitar, and that the composer wrote the song under a gun."

Back to A Film for a Song



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