“MAMBO COOL”— The Underbelly of the World


The Underbelly of the World

Amos Lassen

“Mambo Cool” is a documentary that takes us into the underbelly of Medellin and we meet the indigent inhabitants and see how they live. This is the first film of Anthropologist-Auteur Chris Gude. 

We are introduced to a dispossessed drug dealer, his derelict companions, a “warrior” who talks to spirits and a virgin prostitute.

The documentary looks at displacement, sickness, and cultural decay in the back alleys of a claustrophobic city filled with hustle and bustle and a poor population. The people struggle to survive on their own terms in this experimental documentary that blends fine-art cinematography by Jose Ignacio Pardo and Felipe Loaiza with street music by David Oquendo.

The performances are hypnotically naturalistic and the storyline meanders set to impromptu salsa music. Visually, the film is addictive. Director Gude fixed his gaze on the indigents in Medellín where he lived and worked for several years and now illuminates this gritty world.

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