2020, Mo Fini and Edesio Alejandro, Drama
Based on a true story. In 2017, after more than half a century since Castro’s revolution, Cuba opens her arms to the West and the Yankee dollar. Born into communism, JC (Héctor Noas) is a ‘big fish in a small pond’ – a local music producer and promoter, farmer and small-time hustler who lives by his wits and imagination. To support his family and small circle of ‘business associates’ and maintain his local “Godfather” status, JC lives beyond his means – a fact that creates strains in his marriage to Rita (Yudexi de la Torre Mesa). When his crops are threatened by late rains JC has to juggle the demands of organizing music concerts while also sourcing pig feed, fixing water pumps and entertaining a group of visiting British music tourists. Along the way there is betrayal and heartbreak but behind JC’s wisecracking persona is a considerate man. He is not greedy– he just wants to provide for friends and family and escape the precarious, hand-to-mouth existence that threatens to derail his life at any moment. An unexpected phone call offers the chance to make a fortune and change his life forever. This triggers a frantic search for cash and a mysterious rendezvous that leads to a nerve-racking finale.
MAMBO MAN is packed with musical contributions from Cuban legends including; Candido Fabre, Maria Ochoa, Alma Latina, David Alvarez, Arturo Jorge, Omara Portuondo, Eliades Ochoa, Juan De Marcos Gonzalez and the Afro-Cuban All Stars.
“There is rather the mature and conscious gaze of two authors who want to represent Cuba, and the story of the protagonist, with truth and love. With this awareness, each shot conveys a charm superior to that of a good staging. This film, made with passion, penetrates the audience to the rhythm of music and tells us about a whole, small, precious universe, absorbing its beauty and misery. “Mambo Man” is a bit like Cuba: beautiful, kind and melancholic.”
“..wonderful Afro-Cuban soundtrack… lovely travelogue shots of Havana and the countryside (which cinematographer Luiz Alberto Gonzalez Garcia makes sparkle)”
Nights and Weekends
Kristin Dreyer Kramer
“It’s a dynamic, colorful film, with bustling markets, lively clubs, friendly outdoor cafes, and—best of all—a remarkable soundtrack of classic Cuban music, which is a focal point of the film.”
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