800 balas (2002)
Undoing the ignominy of boyhood
in The cinema of Álex de la Iglesia
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This chapter deals with Álex de la Iglesia's film 800 Balas, which was supposedly inspired by the stories of the stuntmen still working on the old western sets in Almería. De la Iglesia tells the viewers that ‘800 Balas reneges on this original filmic manifesto by casting a boy of about ten as one of its two central protagonists’. The film is homage to the hundreds of Spanish and Italian stuntmen who were employed to carry out the jobs that the US stars ‘could not or would not do’, and, in a subtle manner, also deals with a social reality: the issue of immigration. 800 Balas as a whole suggests that mothers, though well meaning, are not to be trusted; the final images say that blind faith in the father will eventually be rewarded.

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