Beautiful, magical, thoughtful portrait of Cubans today
Mrs. Lynn A. Tramonte | Cleveland, OH | 12/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie follows several characters during the Dia de Santa Barbara in Habana CUBA, illustrating how even the lives of veritable strangers are often intimately intertwined. This movie was released in selected markets in the US but was never marketed very widely, and it is a shame because it would have been an eye-opener for many and would have brought the beauty of Cuban art to Americans who are ridiculously barred from experiencing this on their own"
Contemporary Cuba ?
Enrique Torres | San Diegotitlan, Califas | 07/31/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"To say this movie is strange would be an understatement. The fact that it comes out of Cuba speaks to the heavy handed propaganda disguised amidst the glimmer of hope. Take three young people in an orphanage and quickly transform them into adults with problems, throw in a young female narrator(God/an angel?) who curiously speaks while underwater and you're following the lives of Julia, Elpidio and Mariana quicker than you can say bizarro mundo. Of the three characters I found Elpidio, the young street hustler-musician(featured on cover) to be the most interesting although all have their qualities. Coincidently he seems to get most of the films attention. One day while fishing a Greenpeace worker falls from a balloon in the sky, loses her wallet and Elpidio finds it and returns it to her(minus a few bucks) and they begin a relationship. She tries to help him escape Cuba, he is not sure if he should and consults his own voodoo for some help in making a decison. Remember, I said it was bizarre. The ballerina Mariana is a sexpot who can't seem to dance with a partner without being intimate and makes a promise to God to become celibate if she lands a desired lead role. Temptation she must resist as she auditions next to a young stud who falls in love with her eventually. Incidently Mariana's instructor is very good, she is a true disciplinarian who also likes the male dancers, even if they are half her age. The other life you follow in the movie is that of Julia who is a meek social worker, afraid to have a good time and actually faints at the mention of the word sex. People on the streets also faint when the word freedom is shouted out. She seeks some professional help which makes for some crazy life recreations. Our narrator is pulling the strings in the movie and magically informs the audience, while underwater, of what is going to happen to people who encounter each other in the movie. The movie is full of allegories and metaphors and with it's surreal imagery is a bit out there for most audiences. Sometimes the film borders on ridiculous and during these moments of wacky scenarios you might lose interest. If you don't say to yourself what the heck is going on at least once or twice you probably have lost total interest. There is enough interesting footage to keep you glued until the next fragment but it can be hard to follow at times. The colorful imagery is more overpowering than the bleek delapidated buildings of Havana but it does provide a curious contrast. The three character plot eventually comes to a conclusion, all the people meeting in the square downtown for the finale. All in all this is one of those strange independent film type movies. My own curiosity was peaked because I wanted to see what type of cinema is coming out of contemporary Cuba. In the end I came to the conclusion that the arts are alive in Cuba and the censorship dictates how much freedom filmmakers have. It is an interesting movie worth watching if you like Spanish language(it has subtitles) movies but not a great movie by any means."