Robert Rodriguez may be a household name, but back in 1992 he was an impoverished would-be filmmaker who raised $3000 of the film's $7000 shooting budget as a volunteer for experimental drug testing. Shot on the streets of Coahuila, Mexico without storyboards (Rodriguez had no crew to show them to), equipment (sound was record with a tape recorder while most of the 'guns' were water pistols) and quite often actors (many of the smaller roles were simply passers by), El Mariachi is guerilla filmmaking at its most inventive. An action movie filmed for the price of a second hand Ford Fiesta - Michael Bay, you have much to learn.
Run Lola Run(1998)
Brilliantly high concept, effortlessly executed by director Tom Tykwer and kept at breakneck speed by leading lady Franka Potente, this is one of the very best reasons to bury England's traditional enmity with the Germans. The story follows three attempts, largely in real time, by Lola (Potente) to get the 100,000 deutschmarks needed to save her boyfriend's life. Tykwer basically riffs on the same concept three times, ratcheting up the tension and building up the pace with each attempt as the flame-haired Lola uses increasingly inventive means of getting ahead. An object lesson in how to shoot at speed, this smashes the stereotype of the talky, heavy European indie.