Marimbas From Hell

(Las marimbas del infierno)
Julio Hernández Cordón | Comedy, Fiction, Musical

2011 | 75 minutes | France, Mexico, Guatemala

Boldly exploring the boundaries of fiction and documentary, up-and-coming Guatemalan filmmaker Julio Hernández Cordón’s (Gasolina) original and entertaining second feature follows three unlikely characters from Guatemala City as they attempt to fuse improbable musical styles.


Boldly exploring the boundaries of fiction and documentary, up-and-coming Guatemalan filmmaker Julio Hernández Cordón’s (Gasolina) original and entertaining second feature follows three unlikely characters from Guatemala City as they attempt to fuse improbable musical styles.

Don Alfonso plays the marimba for a living, but as his traditional music is seen as increasingly old-fashioned, he finds himself without a job. When his glue-sniffing godson introduces him to Blacko, an old heavy-metal legend of the Guatemalan underground, they decide to do something radical and fuse the sounds of the marimba with heavy metal.

Filled with laugh-aloud moments, Marimbas From Hell is a fresh and unique story of the fusion between tradition and modernity that conveys a moving and authentic sense of Guatemalan life.


"Marimbas from Hell is a brilliant and absurd comedy however you look at it, funny and moving at the same time, whose centerpiece is an excellent excuse to create a fun and original story... this notable film from Guatemala is one of the best Latin American comedies in a long time, a true gem that should not be missed." — Diego Lerer, Diario Clarín

"This largely comic look at one determined marimba player's struggles is a clear allegory on the dangers Guatemalan artists face when thinking outside the box." — Robert Koehler, Variety

"...a film with a tone that at times brings to mind Aki Kaurismäki and Jim Jarmusch, although, of course, with a recognizable and fascinating Central American imprint. One of the most award-winning Latin American films in recent times." — Diego Batlle, Otros Cines

"A little surprise for those who search for authentic Latin American cinema." — Isabel Croce, Diario la Prensa

"With this scenario, Marimbas from Hell presents an absurd, comic and tragically entertaining portrait of marginality.... An original, interesting and extravagantly attractive proposal." — Emiliano Basile, Escribiendo de Cine

"A reality that is difficult to explain, that of a downtrodden country that Hernández Cordón knows how to portray." —Claudio D. Minghetti, La Nación

"The film takes a subtle stab at the indigenous versus modern culture trope, defaulting as an understated, odd comedy." — VITA.MN

Main credits

Hernández Cordón, Julio (film director)
Hernández Cordón, Julio (screenwriter)
Tunche, Alfonso (actor)
González Arévalo, Roberto (actor)
Monterroso, Victor Hugo (actor)

Other credits

Cinematographer, María Secco; editor, Lenz Claure; music, Guerreros del Metal; Bacteria Sound System.

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Toronto International Film Festival
San Sebastián International Film Festival
Miami International Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize, Best Picture
Buenos Aires International Film Festival BACIFI - Special Mention
Cinélatino Rencontres de Toulouse - Grand Prize
Torino International Film Festival - Jury Prize, Ciputti Award

DIRECTOR: Julio Hernández Cordón

NATIONALITY: France, Mexico, Guatemala

YEAR: 2011

GENRE: Comedy, Fiction, Musical


COLOR / B&W: Color

GRADE LEVEL: College, Adults



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