We're gonna go lowbrow and admit that Juan of the Dead is among our favorite films being screened as part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Latin Wave 8 film festival. The political satire that director Alejandro Brugués infuses in this over-the-top comedy is absolutely delicious. Unemployed Juan (wonderfully played by Alexis Díaz de Villegas) and his friends are among a handful of human survivors when zombies invade the island nation of Cuba. Juan soon realizes that there's money to be made off the situation, killing and disposing of zombies for those not so inclined. He sets up a hotline, answering the phone, ''Juan of the Dead. We kill your loved ones for you. How can I help you?''
If you think any of this sounds like Shawn of the Dead, you’re right, but this is more than a simple rehash. Brugués has given the story a completely Cuban flavor. There are plenty of jabs at the absurdity of life on the isolated island. News reports say that, like every other malady ever to hit Cuba, the walking, ravenous monsters are part of an effort by the United States to destabilize the country. Juan keeps one friend from fleeing in a raft by reminding him, ''If you leave, you're going to have to work for a living.''
If zombies don't interest you, there's sure to be something among the other eight movies that will satisfy. Several filmmakers are set to attend the festival, including actor Victor Prada of The Cleaner (El limpiador), Adrián Saba's 2011 drama about a forensic cleaner who discovers a boy hiding at a crime scene. Director Carlos Sorin attends the screening of his 2012 Gone Fishing (Dias de pesca), about a recovering alcoholic trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. Producer Estefanía Ortiz will attend the screening of Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori's 2012 7 Boxes (7 cajas), a thriller set in Paraguay.
Houston, TX 77005
Category: Movie Theaters
Region: Kirby-West U
100 Bissonnet. For a full schedule, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org. $10 per screening.
May 2-5, 2013