The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez

DVD - 2018
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Set in 1901. After a heated misunderstanding due to poor translation leads to the death of a lawman, Mexican American farmer Gregorio Cortez sets off in desperate flight from the Texas Rangers, evading a massive manhunt on horseback for days.
Publisher: [New York] : The Criterion Collection, [2018]
Edition: DVD special edition, Widescreen version
ISBN: 9781681434865
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (106 min.) : DVD video, sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 insert (1 folded leaf : color illustrations ; 19 cm.)
4 3/4 in
DVD video,4 3/4 in
digital,optical,mono,Dolby Digital
video file,DVD video,region 1


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Nov 29, 2019

Reissued version of film originally made in 1982. Absolutely brilliant, and one of the best Westerns ever made. Subtle and intentional use of the viewers' own misunderstandings. The commentaries (by actor Olmos and film historian Noriega) are both excellent.

Nov 12, 2019

From the opening shot and the first ten minutes you realize that this is no ordinary 'chase' movie. The tracking shots and the restored colours are a tribute to the cinematography, but the key device is the director's decision to leave the Spanish dialogue untranslated. This makes us share the Texans' incomprehension of the Mexicans in the story, making them into 'the other' that they were for the dominant culture. (Actually the Spanish is not that demanding; and if you activate the sub-titles for the English dialogue you'll find that the Spanish dialogue is displayed as well, making it easy to follow.) The acting is mostly first-rate and the screenplay wisely refuses to insist on the injustice of the story, which in fact needs no underlining. A terrific film, not to be missed -- and one that should be required viewing in Trump's America.

Jul 31, 2019

At least one of the folk commenting here seems not to have quite got this film on any level. However, this is really a great movie. It is filmed naturalistically and, partly as a consequence of that, offers a strong sense of authenticity. It is not preachy; you have to make up your own mind. At the root of the plot is a terrible misunderstanding--a consequence of people being in ignorance of each other's language--that results in several deaths. It is also about racism and a consequent miscarriage of justice. But where does racism originate if not in ignorance and misunderstanding? In the 2016 panel that appears on the disc--a panel that prefaced the launch of the restoration of the film--the producer claims that in the early years of the 20th century Texas Rangers killed 5000 Texans of Mexican descent, many of whom were murdered. Perhaps that comes as a shock to those of us accustomed to thinking of the Rangers as heroes, but it shows the there are often unpleasant secrets that fester beneath simplistic notions of who is "good" and who is not. Anyway, if you watch the movie, you'll find the "extras" and the pamphlet that come with disc well worth a look.

Dec 02, 2018

This is a boring film from the 80s that was released on dvd. Don't know why because it's like one long diatribe against Mexicans as told by Texans. Not at all what I thought it was going to be. Wonder who wrote the synopsis.

Nov 26, 2018

Found this movie quite interesting

Nov 05, 2018

Based on a true story that became a famous Mexican ballad, this 1982 film is a landmark in independent filmmaking, in Chicano filmmaking, and in the Western. Yet it's barely known, which perhaps may change now that the Criterion has released this deluxe edition. Gregorio Cortez was a Mexican man who shot a Texas sheriff after a misunderstanding that resulted in the sheriff shooting Cortez's brother. Cortez flees and a posse goes after him. The manhunt is a basic, almost mythic story, found in both westerns and film noir, but the unorthodox structure of this and the genre revisions make this a fascinating film. There are flashbacks and multiple points of view (Moving back and forth between the hunters and the hunted, as well as a journalist tracking the story.) and, in a rarity, Cortez, played by Edward James Olmos, who also produced, emerges as a hero and the white lawmen are presented in a much more ambiguous way than they are. So many westerns are predicated on "the other," whether its Native Americans or Mexicans, that it's a revelation to see the genre presented from a different perspective. The cast is full of, hey I know that guy actors, including Bruce McGill, William Sanderson, Brion James, Ned Beatty, and James Gammon. Fun fact: Sanderson, Olmos, and James were all in "Blade Runner," which came out the same year. Of the extras, the interview with star-producer Edward James Olmos and the piece about Chicano cinema are both worth watching. Directed by Robert M. Young, whose "Alambrista" is also available from Criterion. Love those guys.


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