Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When the professor and writer Lola Sánchez is assigned to write a column in the newspaper about the Spanish Civil War, she researches and finds for the first time about the shooting of ... See full summary »

Director: David Trueba
Stars: Ariadna Gil, Ramon Fontserè, Joan Dalmau
Nicotina (2003)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A real-time dark comedy about a science geek who tangles with a clutch of Russian gangsters after he delivers them the wrong computer disk.

Director: Hugo Rodríguez
Stars: Diego Luna, Marta Belaustegui, Rosa María Bianchi
Fade to Black (2006)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Attempting to recover from his failed marriage to Rita Hayworth and restart his career, Orson Welles travels to Italy only to be drawn into a dangerous web of intrigue, murder and politics when an actor is murdered on his set.

Director: Oliver Parker
Stars: Danny Huston, Diego Luna, Paz Vega
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A fairy tale about the political and socioeconomic realities of Mexico.

Director: Luis Estrada
Stars: Damián Alcázar, Antonio Serrano, Cecilia Suárez
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Four women plan a dangerous strike against a band of Mexican drug traffickers. Motivated by revenge, this action could change their luck forever. The cast: power, lust and money.

Director: Agustín Díaz Yanes
Stars: Diego Luna, Victoria Abril, Ariadna Gil
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

On a lark in Tijuana, a carefree Brazilian art student crosses paths with a brooding Mexican journalist, sparking a cascade of events across both Mexico and Brazil. As Dolores and Damián discover an intimate love and a mysterious spiritual heritage, they struggle with ever more costly choices.

Director: Carlos Bolado
Stars: Diego Luna, Alice Braga, Damián Alcázar
Criminal (2004)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two con artists try to swindle a currency collector by selling him a counterfeit copy of an extremely rare currency bill.

Director: Gregory Jacobs
Stars: John C. Reilly, Diego Luna, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Comedy | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

Natalia is a young Spanish woman who arrives in Mexico City, invited by Esteban, her boyfriend. However, due to work, he is absent, but his friends, Ana and Sofia, convince Natalia to ... See full summary »

Director: Artemio Narro
Stars: Anajosé Aldrete Echevarria, Iván Arana, Beatriz Arjona
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

A schizophrenic man commits suicide after his girlfriend cheats on him with his best friend.

Director: Jorge Hernandez Aldana
Stars: Diego Luna, Liz Gallardo, Gabriel González
Todo el poder (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Gabriel (Demian Bichir) is a filmmaker in Mexico City, where he is a victim of crime and violence sometimes even three times a day. This is a black comedy that shows the extreme situation ... See full summary »

Director: Fernando Sariñana
Stars: Demián Bichir, Cecilia Suárez, Luis Felipe Tovar
Action | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A vampire hunter and a priest fight a band of the walking dead in Mexico.

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Stars: Jon Bon Jovi, Cristián de la Fuente, Natasha Gregson Wagner
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Director: Fernando Sariñana
Stars: Alejandro Tommasi, Alonso Echánove, Bruno Bichir


Credited cast:
Roberto Cobo
Laura Hidalgo ...
La Pájara
El Perro
Daniel Martinez ...
El Vago
El Mexicano
Antonio Zúñiga ...
El Judas


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

11 November 2005 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Biliárdjátékosok  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


Written by Alexis Ruiz and Juan Pablo Medina
Performed by Alexis Ruiz and Juan Pablo Medina
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One of the best and least-known billiards movies.
4 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Within the billiards movie genre, one of the best and least-known is Carambola, a 2005 low-budget, highly stylized film that took more than two years to reach the big screen after its premier at the Guadalajara Film Festival, and then, sadly, disappeared almost as quickly. Directed and written by Kurt Hollander, an accomplished writer and photographer, who unfortunately for us, did not continue to make movies, Carambola is the story of El Vago (Daniel Martinez), an aging three-cushion billiards hustler, who has the chance for reinvention when he wins a billiards hall in a bet.

The billiards hall is not only the sole setting of the movie, but it is a central character in this tale of reinvention. Foremost, there is the tension between El Vago's wish to preserve the "real tradition in this pool hall," which means keeping the billiards tables intact, and that of his more business-minded ambitious assistant, El Perro (the wonderful Diego Luna), who believes that only old geezers plays billiards, and that to turn the hall into a successful business requires pool tables, discos, and strobe lights. Even El Vago must concede that "pool is the flavor of the new generation."

(For those that may already be confused, "pool" is not synonymous with "billiards." Pool is akin to pocket billiards, shot with a cue ball and 15 balls on a table between seven and nine feet long. In Carambola, "billiards" refers to three-cushion billiards, also called carombole, which is generally played on a pocketless five-by-ten foot table with just three balls. The object is to score points by caroming the cue ball off both object balls, but making sure the cue ball hits the rail cushion at least three times before hitting the second object ball. Fortunately, if you were watching the movie, you would not be confused, as the rules of three-cushion billiards are explained by El Vago in the opening scene as part of an instructional video he's shooting to earn some extra cash. Not only does he explain the objective, but he gives pointers such as, "knives longer than five inches and guns carried in one's belt…interfere with a clean shot," or "gold chains, shiny rings, and flashy tattoos on one's hands disrupt concentration.")

El Vago ultimately acquiesces to El Perro, thereby ushering in dramatic and costly changes that pack the pool hall with young bodies, but leave the elders disgusted and El Vago with a permanent ulcer that is exacerbated when all the "little sh*ts…put their feet on his tables."

In great and uncomfortable juxtaposition, El Vago even kills the music in one early scene to stage a billiards demonstration by El Campeon, aka "The Champ," who shows off some wonderfully gorgeous masse and rail shots to a rather apathetic and benumbed audience.

Trouble mounts as quickly as the bills. El Perro is determined to take control of the billiards hall, or at least rob El Vago blind while doing lines of cocaine in the bathroom. The sexy La Pajara (Laura Hildalgo) is a constant distraction, particularly once El Vago peeps her straddling his table to make a risqué video with a cue stick. El Mexicano (Jesus Ochoa), a businessman with a bad temper who sells "cues made from rare woods with exotic and erotic images," always appears to be one step away from reclaiming the bar he lost or using his "death cue" on the the kneecaps of anyone ogling his daughter, La Pajara. And none of this bodes well for a billiards tournament he is trying to organize to raise funds to keep the billiards hall solvent.

Amidst this offbeat soap opera, there is, as I suggested in the beginning, a battle not only to define the future of the billiards hall, but to re-examine the very purpose of billiards, for every character has his own dogmatic definition. For "Gums," billiards is all about "style, flair…winning is not so important." For El Judas, billiards is a distraction: "who gives a f*ck about billiards…if you want to do something in this world, you got to play with bigger balls." For La Medusa, "billiards is a mirror of the heavens…when someone stands in front of table and shoots, they're playing on three levels: universe, earth and inner world." El Chiquilin is less philosophical in his world view of billiards: It is a "game of kings… unfortunately it's been adopted by a group of lowlifes, murderers, rapists, prostitutes and pimps." And all of this contrasts with the beliefs of El Vago, who not only is set on teaching his audience to play the game through his video, but to cementing his conviction that "and second rate player can make a shot, but to miss believably, only the best."

It's that philosophy that ultimately cues the audience that maybe the down-and-out El Vago, with the ghastly ulcer and pitiful business sense, is, in fact, "missing believably." I won't spoil the movie, but let's just say, to use another El Vago quote, "to win, you have to know how to lose."

This review first appeared on my blog "8 Ball on the Silver Screen."

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Carambola (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: