I’ve always tied the work of José Mojica Marins’ to my full-on descent into the world of subversive international genre cinema. I always walked that line, dipping my toes in here and there but always retreating to the relative safety of less raw (and potent) films. Once the discovery of Jose Mojica Marin’s Coffin Joe films was made however, I jumped into the deep end head-first and haven’t really come up for air since (it’s too nice down here. You can’t make me). I won’t even be that guy and pretend this is something I came to early in life, it was less than a decade ago that I really dove into the world of Ze de Caxio and truly strange international cinema but what an eye-opening time it’s been.
Finis Hominis finds Marin’s again in the staring role, but this time instead of the familiar black suit and top hat he dons as Coffin Joe (don’t worry, the trademark fingernails are still here for all you long curly nail fetishists) he’s decked out in loud red robes complete with a matching turban and walking stick. The movie actually starts with the man (at this point unnamed) emerging from the ocean stark naked and intent on wandering the streets until he finds a kind hippie lady who just so happens to have a closet full of prophet worthy clothing. He then begins to wander the city in style, doling out lessons, performing miracles and attracting a large following of people interested to see what he will do next. Literally, a giant crowd of people follow him through the streets on his journey, in true disciple fashion. During his wanderings he ends up in a church (like we weren’t going to have a Marin’s movie that doesn’t involve the church in some way?) where he earns the title of “The End of Man” when a priest observes him drinking holy water. Taken by this well-earned title, he even starts referring to himself as such. As the man gains influence through his sermons and “miracles”, world leaders start to take notice and decry him. Shortly after this warning is issued the man decides his time with the people of Brazil is up and he must return to wherever he came from. In true messianic style, he delivers a final speech to the world from atop a mountain before disappearing from the public eye.
I wouldn’t describe Finis Hominis as a horror movie, but it does contain most of the trademarks of Marin’s horror offerings – a distaste for religion, a character who compels us to question things around us and a surrealism that comes through despite budgetary restrictions. As with all of Marin’s work, there is something charming about the low-budget nature of what he’s making that helps smooth out rough spots like questionable audio and film quality. His passion for film soars above all of the shortcomings to make Finis Hominis one of Marin’s best and a must for fans of truly strange cinema.
DIAG RATING 5/6 – a truly strange, inspiring trip that only Marin’s could take you on that delivers a surrealistic view of a messiah figure in modern-ish times.
You can check out more of our Fantasia coverage here:
The Drunk in a Graveyard guide to the TEN FILMS we are most psyched about at Fantasia Fest 2020.
Our interview with Detention (返校) director John Hsu 徐漢強 is here and our review of Detention (返校) can be found here, coverage of JUMBO, coverage of THE OAK ROOM, coverage of The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw, coverage of The Undertaker’s Home (La Funeralia) is here, coverage of YOU CANNOT KILL DAVID ARQUETTE is here, Brea Grant’s 12 HOUR SHIFT and Ryan Spindell’s THE MORTUARY COLLECTION can be found on our latest podcast episode, and coverage of Amelia Moses’s BLEED WITH ME, 上田慎一郎 Shinichiro Ueda’s SPECIAL ACTORS, Neil Marshall’s THE RECKONING, short film DOPPELBÅNGER here, as well as our podcast episode on Justin McConnell’s documentary Clapboard Jungle here. And be sure to stay tuned for more coverage coming up soon, and follow our social media to keep up!
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