Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
This is also a Zombie World Tour post!
Juan of the Dead
Two Cuban men on a raft kick off the film, but they aren’t trying to reach Florida. They’re fishing, and land a deadly bycatch. After playing catch and release they head to shore and the faded glory of Havana’s peeling pastel exteriors, banyan shaded palatial hulks, sun, sky, sea, and zombies. There is confusion at first, with the sudden influx of dissidents who keep biting peoples’ faces off, but once Juan and his best friend Lazaro adjust they make the most of it. “I survived Muriel. I survived the Special Period and that thing that came later. I am a survivor.” The two become entrepreneurs, answering their rooftop phone, “Juan of the dead. We kill your beloved ones.”
There are great supporting cast here, with dainty La China and his massive boyfriend Primo (who fights zombies blindfolded so he won’t faint at the sight of blood), Juan’s best bud Lazaro (who provoked a belly laugh from me with the audacious, not-fit-for-American-audiences nighttime roof scene), the ever present and much mocked government propaganda, and a cameo of The American who looks a lot like George Romero.
This is the first Cuban based zombie film, and they completely nail the genre, including the social relevant message, in this case poking fun at communist Cuba’s obsession with the United States, government doublespeak, and the ethics of working versus merely surviving. The acting is first rate, the production levels are very comfortable, the gore is enough to keep the humor sharp, and the humor found in this film will sometimes make American viewers squirm.
If nothing else, go on-line and watch the two trailers for the film. They’re both hilarious and give a good idea of the tone of the movie. If I *ever* find this one for sale it will land in my collection.
CFR In Addition: I really want to see this movie. With my husband. I know we will enjoy it.