Despite the still and saddening plot, and the steady and wise eyes of Don Alfonso, a poor delivery man in Guatemala, Marimbas del Infierno, written and directed by Julio Hernandez Cordon, will inevitably make you laugh with it’s subtle humor.
Threatened by a dangerous gang in Guatemala, Don Alfonso had to hide his family, and was left jobless with nothing but an armchair, a table, and the love of his life, a 20 year-old marimba. On his quest for gigs, and in need of money, Don Alfonso decides to integrate the traditional Guatemalan sound of the marimbas into heavy metal. With the support of his off-beat godson, Chiquilline, and ex-Satanist-ex-Evangelical-now-orthodox-Jew and physician, Blacko, Julio Hernandez Cordon documents the band’s eager attempts to do something that has never been done before.
Cordon’s refreshing cinematography lets your mind wonder, gives humor to the simple, and the subtle, and the quiet nature of the people in the film. Cordon’s ability to capture the essence of the run-down town in Guatemala leaves the audience enamored and full of curiosity for the other worlds. By flawlessly filming the cyan walls and uneven sidewalks– through which Don Alfonso dragged his marimba– the bright red doors, horizontal lines, and painfully off-white walls of the bars, we witness the essence of the culture in Guatemala; Cordon clearly manipulated lighting and sound to capture the quiet sadness that lurks in an impoverished town haunted by the local gangs.
In Marimbas from Hell, the audience is left to study the characters between their silences, instead of struggling words they speak. We are left to trust Cordon’s visual presentation of their story with how it is that they look at something, what they glance at, the movement of their limbs, and the subtly of all of their actions. Amusing, at the least, the characters, despite being unbelievably odd, there is human characteristic obscurely hidden in Cordon’s captured lighting and sound, deeming the film undeniably radiating in an unstirred truth.
Watch the trailer with English subtitles below:
This film was reviewed at the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival. Cine Las Americas is a multi-cultural, 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Austin Texas. The mission of Cine Las Americas is to promote cross-cultural understanding and growth by educating, entertaining and challenging diverse audiences through film and media arts.