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"This is an excellent movie, full of subtleties and innuendos as well as forthright commentary. As with everything Cuban, you can't escape the political: in fact, it is the political which provides the backdrop in this film. When the man in charge of a funeral home in Havana proposes a new system (with his own political goals in mind) for transporting the deceased to their final resting place, he sees his plan put to the test when his wife's aunt passes away--on the other side of the island. His efforts to accomplish her move back to Havana--and his funny and ultimate failure to do so--provide the social commentary on what happens to the brightest ideas when undertaken under a dogmatic system. It also provides the parallel for the movie's dramatic subplot: his wife's misgivings about her choices in life--marrying her current husband, leaving her teaching job, etc. As we see her marriage fail along the way (along with her husband's plan), and a new love enter her life, we begin to understand the message: sometimes it is individuality--and not the common good of the revolution--that affords the best solution. The script was wonderful, the acting superb, the editing on the mark. At turns funny, sad, academic, farcical, the movie should have gotten an academy award. But alas, it hails from Cuba, and what a pleasant surprise to see such a high quality--and self-critical-- product come out of there."
Gave a Great Laugh to A Cuban Family
A. J. Aleman | 07/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When our family sat down to watch Guantanamera we all new the Cuban song from the beggining. Watching this was like going back to Cuba when we traveled across the land. Switching Cars people selling banannas, No road signs, just plain Cuba. The actors in the movie did a great job portraying Cubans. Because you may not believe that's the way real Cubans act, unless your Cuban, but it's what we are really like.I rated this movie a Four Star because the movie has great laughs for "Cubanos y Gringos". All the irony with cars meeting, people dieing, well I don't want to ruine it for you. But Watch the Movie whether you buy or rent. You'll enjoy it!"
This is how I remember Cuba
email@example.com | Miami Beach, FL | 02/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I visited Cuba in December '98 and was so impressed with the Cuban people and their ingenuity. This movie is a comedy that depicts everyday life for Cubans and their struggles with the overly-bureaucratic, centrally-planned economy. Its a story about a funeral procession of sorts that begins in Guantanamo and ends up in Havana. With a few mishaps along the route, the love story between Candido and Yoyita and the other one between Gina and Mariano does a great job of bringing it all together. The best foreign film I've ever had the pleasure of seeing - and I'm not just saying that because I'm Cuban. SEE IT!!"
A "gringo" who loves this flick!
A. J. Aleman | 03/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This week I saw "American Beauty" at the movie theater and then, for the second time, the video of "Guantanamera". Very different flicks...one set in suburban America and the other in the countryside of Cuba. However, there is a common theme in both of how couples, stuck in loveless marriages, finally learn to change their fates. While "American Beauty" is the better movie, there is no doubt that "Guantanamera", undoubtedly shot on a very limited budget, is a gem of a film and well worth watching.Respectfully disagree with one of the prior reviewer's comments that "gringos"..."cannot appreciate the movie". Well, any "gringo" over the age of 18 is going to understand the theme of "Guantanamera". Then, again, was the reviewer perhaps referring to "gringos" not understanding the depiction of officialdom in Cuba. Anyone who has dealt with a self important, controlling boss or govenment official, is going to understand the portrait of the real jerk of an official in this film. Without giving away the plot, the context of the movie is that a minor "apparachik" is dictating cross island burials by hearse relay...sounds somber but is really quite funny as the "master plan" falls apart. Add to this humor a great assortment of characters, beautiful love stories, and a wonderful Cuban music soundtrack, and you have quite a treat."
A Charming Funeral Story Thats Witty and Wise
Jose R. Perez | Yonkers, NY USA | 04/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A hearse-led road trip across Cuba's lush tropical countryside and cluttered urban areas is the main plot element in "Guantanamera." Yoyita, a famed ex-patriot, returns to her homeland after many years to be celebrated for her triumphs away from home. She dies suddenly, in the arms of a former lover, now old like her, but nonetheless still enamored. On her death, Candido (the old gentleman) joins Yoyita's niece Gina and her communist comrade husband on a trip to bury her aunt in an Havana cemetary. The characters they meet along the way are finely etched - full of pathos and humor, and real as real can possibly be. The road trip becomes an endless series of folly and error, with dual caskets, broken down cars, and a host of characters who somehow dovetail in and out of each other's lives. In the end, Gina find redemption in the arms of another man - a former student who is inexplicably traveling the same stretch of road. And throughout, the song "Guantanamera" (Girl from Guantanamo) is lyrically molded to suit the story, becoming part of the script in ingenious ways. A lovely film, for all audiences - in any language - this is an example of the great Cuban cinema's powerhouse director Tomas Gutierez Alea, and stands as a triumph of spirit, love and passion much like other love stories that have been told in English over the years. Solid acting, and scenes of heartwrenching sadness are etched against the inexplicable beauty that remains on the island, despite its dilapidated state. See it and enjoy!"