Time to Die

(Tiempo de morir)
Mexico 1965. Dir: Arturo Ripstein. 90 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION! Two of Latin America’s literary heavyweights, Gabriel García Márquez and Carlos Fuentes, and one of Mexican cinema’s great masters, Arturo Ripstein (here a precocious 21-year-old making his directing debut), are the talents behind this splendid Mexican Western (or “Chili Western”), now beautifully restored and receiving its first North American release. Returning to his home village after 18 years in prison for murder, Juan Sáyago (Jorge Martínez de Hoyos) longs to live a peaceful life, but the two sons of the man he killed are thirsty for vengeance. Mexican screen legend Marga López, top-billed, plays Sáyago’s old flame. Ripstein, a disciple of Buñuel’s, crafts a spare, striking, elemental drama that effectively and unsentimentally treats themes of honour, pride, machismo, and family. This was Marquez’s first realized screenplay; its plot has parallels with his 1981 novella Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Marquez’s dialogue was “Mexican-ized” by Fuentes.

 

REVIEWS

"Beautifully restored ... A gem of a vintage Mexican Western."

Hollywood Reporter | full review

"An austere western that kicks up a slowly blinding storm of dust, regret, and vengeance ... It turned Mexican westerns on their head."

LA Times | full review