By Gianfranco Rosi & Charles Bowden
Directed & photographed by Gianfranco Rosi

The term sicario goes back to Roman Palestine, where a Jewish sect, the Sicarii, used concealed daggers (sicae) in their murders of Romans and their supporters. In modern language, a sicario is a professional killer or a hit man.

In an anonymous motel room on the U.S./Mexico border, a Ciudad Juarez hitman speaks. He has killed hundreds of people and is an expert in torture and kidnapping. He was simultaneously on the payroll of the Mexican drug cartels and a commander of the Chihuahua State Police. There is currently a $250,000 contract on his life and he lives as a fugitive, though he has never been charged with a crime in any country. With his face obscured by a black mesh hood, he tells his story to the camera inside the very motel room he once used to hold and torture kidnapped victims. Aided only by a magic marker and notepad, which he uses to illustrate and diagram his words, the sicario describes, in astounding detail, his life of crime, murder, abduction and torture.

~ "A minimalist study in maximum violence, Gianfranco Rosi's El Sicario Room 164 offers viewers the rare chance to meet a Mexican narco hitman and to live to tell the tale." - Variety

~ FIPRESCI Prize, Venice Film Festival
~ Biografilm Award, Venice Film Festival
~ Orizzonti Documentary Award, Venice Film Festival
~ Best Documentary, City of Lisbon Award, DocLisboa, Portugal
~ Best Documentary, Docaviv Film Festival, Israel
~ Premio Selezione, Cinema.doc, Rome, Italy
~ Special Mention, Viennale, Vienna, Austria
~ Grand Jury Prize, Open City London Documentary Film Festival, United Kingdom
DVD (Color)
84 minutes
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