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Old 01-18-2011
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Cool Cuba Shoots Zombie Movie Juan of the Dead

Blood-spattered, flesh-eating monsters have been roaming the Cuban capital, Havana, in recent months - all part of filming for the country's first zombie movie.

Bearing a similar title to Britain's 2004 comedy horror Shaun Of The Dead, Juan Of The Dead's plot is actually closer to the 1984 ghoul classic Ghostbusters.

In the film, an entire city is overrun by zombies while Cuba's Communist leaders insist it is just a plot by US-backed dissidents to bring down the government.

So it is left to hero Juan - played by Cuban actor Alexis Diaz de Villegas - to rid the island of the undead for money.

But as the zombie outbreak begins to spread, he is left with no choice but to fight for his own survival.

The film, due for release later this year, was written and directed by 34-year-old Alejandro Brugues.

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Cuba has a great history of cinema and they've always been avid filmgoers”
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John Landis
Director of An American Werewolf In London
It is only his second movie since graduating from Cuba's International School of Film and Television.

"It's a zombie film but it's about Cubans and how we react in the face of a crisis because we've had a lot of them here over the last 50 years," Brugues told the BBC World Service's The Strand.

"It is a social comedy, it has a bit of everything. It has horror, it has action and it pretty much laughs in the face of problems."

The movie is a joint Cuban-Spanish production with much of the funding coming from overseas.

It is the latest in a wave of independent cinema which has been struggling to find its feet after state funding all but dried up following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Strawberry And Chocolate, which dealt with gays rights at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in Cuba, was the last film to enjoy international success after it was nominated for an Oscar in 1994.

Although Cuban cinema has been struggling in recent years, for many decades it was a flourishing industry.
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