Omar Rodriguez-Lopez makes good movies

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

The Sentimental Engine Slayer is the third film by guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta, At the Drive-In, Bosnian Rainbows), but it is only the first to receive a public release. It was completed in 2007, but wasn't released until 2010. Omar wrote, directed, produced, scored, and played the lead character in this film to great effect - the visuals are gorgeous, the plot is thought-provoking, the humor is very funny, and the acting is solid. Here is a synopsis of the film written by Sonny Kay (artist and creative director of the excellent indie record label Sargent House), who also plays a small role in the film:

The Sentimental Engine Slayer tells the compelling, confounding tale of the overdue coming of age of a twenty-something misfit named Barlam. Barlam's awkward transition from boy to man is as much the story of struggling to find one's essence in a world of stereotypes as it is an indictment of the distorted reality of family life in the disengaged 21st century. A bottom-rung grocery bagger whose neo-incestuous relationship with his addict sister, Natalia, causes him no small amount of grief and disillusionment, Barlam seeks solace in the convoluted wisdom of what few male peers are available, namely his androgynous, alcoholic boss, Oscar, and the sister's simple-minded boyfriend, Zack. Seeking an explanation as to the strange circumstances of his apparent lack of family structure, as well as the respect from others fundamentally absent in his mundane model-building existence, Barlam is soon led astray amid a seedy underworld of prostitutes, hustlers and addicts. The labyrinthine plot soon begs questioning as to where reality ends and fantasy begins, Barlam shifting effortlessly between hapless punching bag, assertive surrogate father figure, and rage-prone psychopath.

This film also features the involvement of many other people from The Mars Volta camp, including his brother Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, audio engineer Lars Stalfors, former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, saxophonist Sara Christina Gross, and bassists Ralph Jasso, Juan Alderete De La Peña and Pablo Hinojos.

Thankfully, Sargent House has posted the entire film online, so you can watch it below:

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez created four more films since this one, but released only one, Los Chidos (2012). Unfortunately, its release has thus far been restriced to a few small theaters, and Sargent House has only posted this promo video online:

If you'd like to see more of ORL's film work while waiting for his next movie to see a wide release, check out the music videos he directed for his bands!