‘Mambo Man’ Is A Heavy Drama That Is Worth Watching At Least Once

Courtesy: Corinth Films

If it is too good to be true, it probably is.  Everyone knows that adage.  It is at the center of Tumi Productions’ 2020 movie, Mambo Man.  The independent Cuban flick originally premiered in June 2020 at the Crownwood International Film Festival in India and made its way to American theaters only months later in September.  That release was followed by a DVD release Feb. 16 through Corinth Films.  The movie, which runs less than 90 minutes, is worth watching at least once.  That is due in part to its story, which will be discussed shortly.  The movie’s cinematography does its own part to make the presentation worth watching, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s soundtrack rounds out its most important elements.  When it is considered along with the movie’s story and cinematography, the whole makes Mambo Man a presentation that holds its own against other statement films.

Tumi Productions and Corinth Films’ presentation of Mambo Man is an intriguing addition to this year’s field of new independent movies.  It is a work that is worth watching at least once.  That is due in part to its story.  The story in question focuses on JC (Hector Noas – El Comisario, Corazon Azul, Terre Indigo), a farmer, promoter and all around hustler who has driven his family to the brink of financial ruin with his spending habits.  Even with the success of his pig farm and promoting, JC has spent much of his time in recent years living beyond his means.  The story opens with that behavior having caught up with him.  The thing is that the extent of his financial mismanagement is not fully revealed until he tells his wife about a scheme presented to him by his old friend Roberto (David Parez).  The scheme involves JC buying some jewelry from a woman who wants to allegedly raise money to join her family in the United States.  JC’s wife reveals to audiences in the discussion with him, that the majority of his ventures have failed and that if his plan in this case fails, it means complete bankruptcy for the family and having to sell their house.  All of this sounds like it could be used for a comedy.  As a matter of fact it has been used for a comical take on the familiar theme.  In this case though, the featured story is much heavier emotionally.  This is where the movie becomes somewhat difficult to watch.  Rather than taking a light hearted approach, the writing team of Mo Fini and Paul Morris has crafted a story that leaves viewers feeling so uncomfortable throughout.  Even when the story reaches its bittersweet ending (no, the ending will not be spoiled here), it tugs at viewers’ heartstrings.  The result of all of this is that viewers will find that they have to really be in the right mindset in order to really enjoy the story.  That means it is not one of those stories that audiences will find themselves willingly watching any time.  Of course that is not to say that the movie is a failure.  It just is not a presentation that viewers will find themselves watching a lot.

While the story featured in Mambo Man is something of a mixed bag in terms of its  presentation, the movie’s cinematography works well to make up for the story’s shortcoming.  According to information provided through IMDB, Mambo Man was filmed entirely on site at locations throughout Cuba.  This means that the lush countryside locations and the busy city streets of Santiago de Cub and Bayamo are in fact those locations.  The vast differences in the settings and the rich colors and general appearance of each location make for so much visual engagement and entertainment.  What’s more, the angles and simple shot styles bring out the best of those settings.  Case in point is the roadside café at which JC stops late in the story.   .  The almost primitive roadside café in one shot – which is essentially a series of thatch huts – looks so wonderful thanks to the angles and lighting.  On another hand, the streets of Santiago de Cub are so rich in their color, from the streets themselves to the colors of the store fronts and houses.  It is all captured and highlighted so well through the work of those behind the lenses.  If for no other reason than the ability of those behind the cameras to so effectively capture the natural beauty of Cuba, viewers will want to watch this movie.  Just as enjoyable to take in throughout the movie is its soundtrack.

The soundtrack to Mambo Man is important to address because of the aesthetic enjoyment that it additionally brings to the movie’s presentation.  Music from the likes of Afro-Cuban All-Stars, Arturo Jorge, and Candido Fabre highlights the music that has become synonymous with the island nation throughout its history.  The catchy rhythms of the sambas and jazz-tinged sounds of other songs work with the soundtrack’s other sounds, and the movie’s wonderful cinematography to even more bring the movie to life.   When those aesthetic elements are joined with the story, whose basis is itself believable enough, the movie in whole proves itself worth watching at least once.

Tumi Productions and Corinth Films’ presentation of Mambo Man is an intriguing work that drama fans will find worth watching at least once.  That is due in part to its story.  The story, while very heavy in the manner in which it is presented, presents a matter that can and does happen in reality.  That believability makes for its own share of engagement and entertainment.  The cinematography exhibited in Mambo Man stands out throughout the story.  The use of certain angles, filters, and lighting does so well to bring to life, the sights and sounds of Cuba.  Just as the cinematography makes the viewing experience more enjoyable in this case, so does the movie’s soundtrack.  This element presents some of the modern and traditional music of Cuba in one presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Mambo Man proves itself to be not an easy movie to watch, but still worth watching at least once.  It is available now.

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