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Abstract

Argentinian director Alejandro Brugués’s 2011 Cuban-Spanish film Juan de los muertos and Mexican playwright Pedro Valencia’s 2013 play Con Z de zombie spring from similar roots: both initially place the blame for each country’s zombie apocalypse at the feet of the United States. In Brugués’s film, the accusation is clear but never proven: news reports interspersed through the film state that the country is being invaded by “dissidents” paid by the U.S. government, though there is no political or military U.S. presence in the film beyond the symbolic presence of the country’s flag. In Valencia’s Mexico, the cause is entirely unknown: Randy, the zombie-narrator-protagonist, does not know how it began. He does, however, take satisfaction in the knowledge that the plague is heading north, since the undocumented zombie immigrants would be impossible to contain: “[L]o que hubiera dado por ver a un zombie latino partiéndole su madre a la border patrol, ¡por fin se habrían metido su ley antiimigrante por el culo!” (I.2, unpaginated) Both texts propose the idea of contagion as a double-edged sword that can be an instrument of resistance or oppression; as such, they underline the political and economic structures that dictate how human life is valued (and not) in both post-revolutionary countries. Brugués and Valencia portray the 21st century Latin American zombie as a vector of and participant in this double-edged contagion, unraveling and complicating apocalyptic outbreak narratives while articulating sociopolitical critiques of their respective countries that operate on a national and global level.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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