Yambaó

Yambaó
Directed byAlfredo B. Crevenna
Produced byRubén A. Calderòn
Alberto López
Written byJulio Albo
Julio Alejandro
StarringNinón Sevilla
Ramón Gay
Olga Guillot
Music byLan Adomian
Obdulio Morales
CinematographyRaúl Martínez Solares
Edited byGloria Schoemann
Distributed byCinematográfica Calderón SA
Release date
December 25, 1957
Running time
85 minutes
CountryMéxico
Cuba
LanguageSpanish

Yambaó (also known as Cry of the Bewitched) is a 1957 Mexican-Cuban drama film directed by Alfredo B. Crevenna and starring Ninón Sevilla.

Plot[]

The story takes place in Cuba in 1850, in the era of the Atlantic slave trade. In a sugar cane plantation, Captain Jorge (Ramón Gay) and his wife, Beatriz (Rosa Elena Durgel) live happily: are expecting a child, and their slaves live quiet and at peace with them. But one night, as the full moon appears, the sound of drums rises in the air. Yambao (Ninón Sevilla), the granddaughter of a witch supposedly murdered 15 years ago named Caridad (Fedora Capdevila), has reappeared. The plantation slaves begin to fear. Her grandmother was killed by them due to black magic and curses that fell on the plantation thanks to her. Yambao's arrival coincides with a new outbreak of black vomit, not appearing on the plantation for decades, and all attributed the situation to the black magic of the girl. Yambao is not really bad, but Caridad, who actually survived her assassination attempt, is the one who fills her heart with hatred and revenge. Jorge stays out of the traditions and customs of his slaves, but when he discovers that these people want to sacrifice the girl, decides to intervene. Jorge saves Yambao, who swears eternal gratitude. But the girl starts to fall for him. Her grandmother decided to take advantage of this feeling from her revenge. Yambao decides to perform a magic ritual of Santeria over Jorge to make him love her. Her magic spell coincides with the contagion of Jorge of the epidemic plague. The doctors do not give hopes to Jorge. Yambao decides to intervene and offered her to cure him in gratitude for saving her life. The contact with Jorge rooted even more her feelings. When Jorge manages to save himself from danger, he begins to feel the desire to be near of Yambao, which suggests that the spell has worked. For several weeks Jorge is delivered with passion for Yambao, forgetting his wife, his plantation and all his duties. However, when Jorge is informed that his wife is about to give birth, he runs to her side, and when his child born, his mind is clear and decides to return to his family. Yambao seeks revenge and is advised by Caridad to kill the wife and the son of Jorge. Fortunately, when about to consummate the crime, her grandmother, Caridad, is discovered by the foreman of the plantation, who kills her with a machete. Yambao flees in horror, promising not to cause any damage. The witch Caridad is the subject of a funeral ceremony with exotic rituals. At the end of the ritual, Yambao decides to end her own life by jumping off a cliff, to the astonishment of Jorge.

Production[]

Yambao was a co-production between Mexico and Cuba and was shot entirely in Cuba. Yambao is played by the Cuban dancer Ninon Sevilla, who had a long career in the Cinema of Mexico of the 1940s and 50s, particularly in the subgenre known as the Rumberas film. The Mexican actors Ramon Gay and Rosa Elena Durgel interpreted the characters of Jorge and his wife Beatriz. Yambaó was released in black and white for the Latin American market, and in color with a dubbed English track in the American market under the title Cry of the Bewitched.[1] It was the first Mexican film that openly referenced the Afro-Cuban culture, particularly magical and religious rituals, such as Santeria.[2] The majority of the actors are of African origin, an unusual case in the Cinema of Mexico. It is the only film where Ninon Sevilla shows partial nudity.[3]

Cast[]

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