The Sentimental Engine Slayer

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The Sentimental Engine Slayer
Directed byOmar Rodríguez-López
Produced byOmar Rodríguez-López
Written byOmar Rodríguez-López
StarringOmar Rodríguez-López
Tatiana Velazquez
Nomar Rizo
Kim Stodel
Angel Marcelo Rodriguez Chevrez
Music byOmar Rodríguez-López
CinematographyMichael Rizzi
Edited byAdam Thomson
Release date
  • February 4, 2010 (2010-02-04)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Sentimental Engine Slayer is a 2010 film directed by Omar Rodríguez-López. Rodríguez-López wrote, produced and scored the film, as well as starring as its protagonist, Barlam. Despite Rodríguez-López completing two prior feature-length films, The Sentimental Engine Slayer is the first to screen publicly and will likely be the first available as a commercial release.

Filmed entirely on location in El Paso, Texas in September/October 2007, the film features contributions from a number of persons associated with The Mars Volta, notably John Frusciante (ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers and honorary TMV guitarist; executive producer), Juan Alderete (TMV bassist; line producer); Paul Hinojos (former TMV guitarist; line producer); Sara Christina Gross (contributing saxophonist on various TMV and ORL releases; associate producer, co-production designer); Sonny Kay (Rodriguez Lopez Productions art director; co-production designer and title card design); and Lars Stalfors (live and studio engineer; sound recordist). A labor of love made possible with the favors of friends and family, The Sentimental Engine Slayer features appearances by and/or contributions of Rodríguez-López's parents and siblings, childhood friends, and a skeleton crew of industry professionals.

The film premiered at the 2010 International Film Festival Rotterdam.


The Sentimental Engine Slayer tells the compelling, confounding tale of the overdue coming of age of a twenty-something misfit named Barlam. Barlam's awkward transition from boy to man is as much the story of struggling to find one's essence in a world of stereotypes as it is an indictment of the distorted reality of family life in the disengaged 21st century. A bottom-rung grocery bagger whose neo-incestuous relationship with his addict sister, Natalia, causes him no small amount of grief and disillusionment, Barlam seeks solace in the convoluted wisdom of what few male peers are available, namely his androgynous, alcoholic boss, Oscar, and the sister's simple-minded boyfriend, Zack. Seeking an explanation as to the strange circumstances of his apparent lack of family structure, as well as the respect from others fundamentally absent in his mundane model-building existence, Barlam is soon led astray amid a seedy underworld of prostitutes, hustlers and addicts. The labyrinthine plot soon begs questioning as to where reality ends and fantasy begins, Barlam shifting effortlessly between hapless punching bag, assertive surrogate father figure, and rage-prone psychopath.[1]


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