Synopsis by Mark Deming
A handful of musicians struggling to be heard are brought together in a wildly unlikely collaboration in this neo-realistic comedy-drama from Guatemalan filmmaker Julio Hernandez Cordon. The marimba, a large percussion instrument similar to the xylophone, is an integral part of traditional Guatemalan music, and Alfonso (Alfonso Tunche) is a man who has devoted his life to the marimba. However, a gang of thugs have been trying to steal his instrument, and with attendance down at the tourist hotel where Alfonso plays in the band, he finds himself without a steady gig. Trying to sort out his next move, Alfonso is befriended by his godson Chiquilin (Victor Hugo Monterroso), a teenager with a taste for snipping glue and listening to heavy metal. Through Chiquilin, Alfonso is introduced to Blako (Roberto Gonzalez), a singer much revered in the Guatemalan underground rock scene. Blako, like Alfonso, is in need of a gig, and he hatches an idea -- what about a band that combines the shredding guitars and bellowing vocals of metal with the traditional sound of the marimba? Alfonso is game to at least give it a try, but bringing these two worlds together proves to be even harder than expected. Las Marimbas del Infierno (aka Marimbas From Hell) received its North American premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.