Films / Juan Of The Dead
Cuba | Narrative Feature | 2011 | 100 min | Website
Director: Alejandro Brugués
Awards: Audience Award-Havana Film Festival, Best European/North-South American Feature Audience Award (Silver)-Fantasia Film Festival, Audience Award-Toronto After Dark Film Festival Summer Screening Series, and many others.
Spanish w/English subtitles
Film source: Latino Fusion
Cuba’s first zombie movie has garnered attention just for its mere existence – a zom-com shot on location in Havana! Despite, and because, of its exotic origins, Juan lives up to the hype, more than delivering the goods as a raucous horror comedy, deeply schooled in the zombie genre, with a uniquely Cuban flavor. half of the pleasure in the film is enjoying the scenery and grand architecture of this majestic, dilapidated city. Havana truly is one of the characters in the film, and plays an important story role.
Director’s statement: “The idea of Juan simply came from watching the reality around me. That reality is Cuba, so one day inevitably, I was asking myself if we were so different from film zombies. Besides that, Cuba is a country that has been preparing itself for a confrontation with the United States during the last 50 years. So, what if instead of that, we have to confront zombies? […] The film gave me the opportunity to make things really difficult for Cubans by filling the country with zombies, which is in a way what we have become after all these years, but also gave me a leading character that could take a different option, that could stand and say “I’m not going to allow this, this is my country, I love it and will stay to defend it”… after trying to make a business out of it and keep going with his life, of course.”
The film is very stylish and truly funny. But underneath it all its political message elevates it to more than just another zombie film. A cult film in Cuba, it has now emerged from underground venues.