The Sentimental Engine Slayer is the debut feature from Omar Rodriguez Lopez, better known for his music career (he is the frontman of the prog-rock band The Mars Volta) Omar has produced over thirty albums with different bands and also has a successful solo career. For the film, Omar wrote, directed, co-produced, created the soundtrack for, acted in the lead role and integrated his own art work and poetry showing his multitude of talents – no one can deny he is an auteur. Here’s a promotional clip for the movie:
The film is the story of Barlam (Lopez) a young man living in a small house in El Paso, Mexico, with his sister and her bedwetting boyfriend. Barlam is on a journey of sexual exploration; he has a curious relationship with his drug addicted sister, he is forced into relations with a prostitute, and ends up having sex with a male prostitute in drag (played by Omar’s brother). None of the twisted trysts end well (or without at least a litre of blood being spilled). Lopez integrates surreal dream sequences with reality in a subverted timeline, leaving the viewer wondering what exactly has really happened. The extremely colourful imagery and experimental soundtrack reflect the psychological elements stimulated by the drug infused world the viewer is thrown into. Yesterday I caught up with Omar for insight into his creative mind.
The Saint: What is your writing process? How do you write your poetry?
Lopez: You call it poetry, you call it art, it’s all the same to me. It’s this now, it’s a nervous thing and so you write something out and maybe it becomes a beautiful idea and maybe it’s the toilet paper that you wipe your ass with when you shit, you never know, you know? It doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t matter, and what the process is? I don’t know, I don’t think about it, they’re just born all the time and then all of a sudden they grow up and they want to be something and it’s the same when people ask me ‘how do you write music?’ – it’s a bucket underneath a leaky sink: the sink will leak all the time and so all of us get up in the morning and we have the internal monologue and right before we go to bed the brain is still talking. Buddhists work all their lives to quiet the inner monolgue and the rest of us are sick and we think about bullshit, about jealousy and things that arn’t important and so I put the bucket underneath the sink and I capture all the things, and some of them are good and some of them are useless and then you can make the bucket empty and then it just fills back up again and then it keeps happening and happening and there’s no end to it, you know?
Be sure to check out the next issue of The Saint, out February 18th, to read the full, fascinating interview!
– Flossie Topping