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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2015: Western

western

The changing relationship between two U.S./Mexico border towns are explored in Western.  The towns of Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico have had a friendship with each other for generations, with Eagle Pass’ mayor Chad Foster being well known on both sides of the border.  However, an increase of drug cartel violence in the area causes the long unprotected border between the two towns to be closed, which affects the relationship between the two towns, particularly the business of cattle rancher Martin Wall.

Directed by the Ross Brothers (Tchoupitoulas), Western is a look at life in the new frontier.  The film uses a visual motif similar to cinematic westerns to depict the relationship between these two border towns, which somewhat sours as cartel violence increases and a fence is placed along the formerly open border.  Western has some great cinematography, with some interestingly shot scenes.  In addition, the main subjects of Chad Foster and Martin Wall are pretty much prototypical Texan cowboys, complete with them always being seen wearing cowboy hats.

As with many documentaries, Western is a film that somewhat evolved while it was being shot.  While it was always the Ross Brothers’ intention to create a modern day western, it was completely unexpected that the cartel violence and border closing would pay such a large role in the story of the film.  This adds an added sense of danger to the film, which might not have been there otherwise.  Overall, while probably not as crazy as the old west, Western shows that life in the new frontier can be challenging and even dangerous.

★ ★ ★ ★ | LIKED IT

Screenings:

  • Sat, May 2, 1:30 PM – Revue Cinema

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).