Time to Die

Acclaimed novelists Gabriel García Márquez and Carlos Fuentes wrote this Mexican antiwestern (1965), which cleverly reverses a typical suspense dynamic: watching the movie, you don’t want a gunfight to break out. A penitent ex-convict returns to the one-horse town of his youth after serving 18 years for murder. Some of his friends welcome him back into society, while others urge him to skip town before he’s overtaken by the vengeful sons of the man he killed. Márquez and Fuentes treat the hero’s atonement and friendships with great feeling, but there’s a dark side to the film’s poignancy, because the man’s every encounter may be his last. This was the first feature directed by Arturo Ripstein (Deep Crimson), and already he demonstrates a refined aesthetic sensibility in his use of curvilinear camera movements to chart the development of interpersonal relationships. In Spanish with subtitles.