Burn Hollywood Burn

"Desperado' feels the heat of anti-Americanism

Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas in Robert Rodriguez's 1995 film <i>Desperado</i>
Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas in Robert Rodriguez's 1995 film Desperado

When we said that Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek smoldered in Robert Rodriguez's Desperado, we didn't mean it literally. But tell that to the mob of protesters in Quetta, Pakistan, who torched the Imbad Cinema in October after the U.S. military airstrikes began in neighboring Afghanistan. The Imbad, the only theatre in the Pakistani town to show American movies, was swept up in a wave of anti-American protest when a mob of demonstrators spotted the poster of its current attraction, Desperado, displayed in its window. According to several news reports, the mob, yelling "Death to America," set fire to the theatre in a day of violence that also saw the destruction of numerous businesses, banks, and the local UNICEF office. Desperado director Robert Rodriguez humbly suggests that "they were just pissed off because they keep getting the same stupid 1995 movie. With the Internet coming into play, they just now realize what old movies they're getting in Pakistan." Indie film legend John Pierson adds jokingly, "Think about how long it takes for some movies to get to Austin. Then just multiply it." But, perhaps, Desperado producer Elizabeth Avellán sums it up best when she says, "We all just have to laugh to keep from crying."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Screens
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Matt Frank builds the perfect monster

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 28, 2020

SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'Lunarcy!'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Wayne Alan Brenner, March 15, 2013

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Nomadland
Story of America's itinerant population wanders too much

Feb. 19, 2021

The Reason I Jump
Poetic insight into autism, based on Naoki Higashida memoir

Jan. 8, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Robert Rodriguez, Desperado, Quetta, Pakistan, the Imbad Cinema, military airstrikes, Afghanistan, UNICEF, John Pierson, Elizabeth Avellán

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle