Henry L. Gomez | miami, fl United States | 06/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In watching The Lost City, you have to evaluate it on two levels. One is the purely cinematic approach, or simply is it a good movie, and the other is from a historical/political statement point of view.
As a movie the best parts are the beautiful photography, locations, costumes and music. It really is a treat for the eyes and the ears. Is it long? yes it's long. But after seeing the film for the second time, I can't see where there was room for a lot of trimming.
Overall the acting in the film was good, with some weak spots. As a movie it's definitely worth seeing and the film doesn't deserve a lot of the negative reviews it's gotten. I suspect those have more to do with the political/historical aspects of the film which I referred to before.
This film will offend a lot of people that have bought into the idea of Fidel Castro as a benevolent dictator and Che Guevara as a righteous revolutionary. This film exposes them for the cruel opportunists that they are/were.
The film makes no bones about the need to remove the (then) dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista but also unequivocally shows that what happened next was far worse for all involved.
Some have criticized this film for not showing "the grinding poverty" of the masses in pre-Castro Cuba. There's a reason for that. There wasn't that much of it back then. The Cuban revolution was one led and funded by the middle and upper classes and supported by intellectuals throughout the island. They wanted democracy not a totalitarian dictatorship.
Cabrera-Infante, the screenplay author does a great job in showing us the differing approaches to getting rid of Batista by putting one of Fico's (Andy Garcia) brothers in the 26th of July movement (Castro's group) and another in the Revolutionary Directorate (a competing revolutionary group). In the end Castro's group seizes power and squashes opposition. In other words, the bad guys won.
You'll need to see the movie to judge it's value as a work of art, but this movie goes a long way toward telling the untold (or rather unlistened-to) story of what happened and is happening in Cuba."
The Lost City
Nelsn A. Carbonell | Gaithersburg, Maryland, USAb | 07/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an artistic masterpiece, in terms of the story, the plot, the music, cinematography, fashion of that epoc in Cuba, settings sceenery,etc. The blend of the background-forground music with the action is amazing. Even though fiction, the historic value is remarkable: representation of events, sequence of events, magnitud of events, vingnets of issues and characteristics of the process, representation of the Cuban spirit, etc.
I'm a 65 year-old Cuban woman who lived through that historic time. I'm a psychologist, mother of seven children , all successfull college graduates and grandmother of 19 children. I'm very greatful to Andy Garcia for the gift of this movie. Maria T. Carbonell, Montgomery Village, Maryland"
Finally...telling it like it is
CMorfe | Boston, MA | 08/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For many of us who have lived through our own "Lost City," watching this film was a bittersweet experience. Andy Garcia has given us an artful, albeit realistic and truthful expression of the tragedy that befell the people and beautiful Island of Cuba. Not only was the movie entertaining and captivating, it was beautifully filmed, evoking images of a time and place we can never go back to. The casting was brilliant and the acting very compelling---you could tell that for many of them the movie was "personal." Amazing that this film made it to the screen given its honest portrayal of the brutal architects of the Cuban revolution, particularly Hollywood's darlings, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. I can't help but laugh (although I should cry) every time I see the blissfully ignorant adulation for Che and company...perhaps if more people see the movie they might think twice before sporting their ugly mugs on their t-shirts....way to go Andy!"
Freedom. What an intangible and fleeting idea. An idea that
Eduardo Lacau | Miami, Florida | 08/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My eyes welled when I watched Bill Murray telling Andy about Lady Liberty. I relived the first time I visited the Statue of Liberty.
I left Cuba in 1970. I was a [...] kid whose childhood's innocence was rudely awakened by the brutalities of the Castro regime on the eastern part of the island.
This movie tugged at my heart and brought back a lot of memories. The constant "look over your shoulder, whisper in half tones" behavior instilled by the constant fear of reprisal-either prison time or death squad.
The fear that within your own family or in school there could be repercussions if you said the wrong thing.
I remembered the time when a neighborhood party was hosted by the CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution) where a Guantanamo Bay tower guard was praised for shooting his partner guard as he started crossing into no man's land toward the U.S. side. He had just asked him if he wanted to defect also, and he replied no.
I remembered the time when two fourteen year old kids were sentenced to death by firing squad for promoting a high school mutiny against a forced six month stint at a farm labor camp.
I remembered the rumors that spread in my town after russian- made MiGs strafed and killed a boat full of people- a whole family, that wanted to escape to Guantanamo.
The scene at the airport where Andy's luggage was being searched brought back the memory at Jose Marti airport in Havana, as we were leaving Cuba. A guard screamed at the group boarding the plane "Worms, whoever turns around and waves good bye is staying!" My mother left Cuba and did not see my grandmother for twenty five years. I will never forget her heartfelt cries as we left.
Andy did an excellent job in capturing this fearful atmosphere in this magnificent movie. This is a must see for anyone, in particular those that have no knowledge or have misled notions of what really goes on in Cuba. In addition, it has a wealth of music that encapsulates the variety and richness of cuban culture."
Strange Mix, But Absolutely Worth Seeing
OPG | a small island in the West Indies | 06/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The movie is a strange mix of Casablanca, The Godfather, and any number of Hollywood musicals from the 40's and 50's. This makes sense given that the writer, Guillermo Cabrera Infante (maybe Cuba's greatest writer) was a huge fan of and liked to write about American movies and Cuban music. His stories are a blend of comedy and sex and violence and almost always about Havana, and he loved to use word-play and puns. Supposedly, he is represented in the movie by the Bill Murray character, which sometimes seems jarring and out of place unless you are familiar with Cabrera Infante - I think he would have loved it. Personally, I like that the movie shows that the Castro revolution was not a "peasant revolution" (as people in the U.S., including some movie critics, seem to believe) but was actually driven and financed by the upper class. I like that it shows Batista's regime in almost as bad a light as Castro's. And I like that it shows Ché Guevara not as some romantic hero but as a ruthless killer for whom "the end justifies the means." And, most of all, the vintage Cuban music by artists like Beny Moré and Bola de Nieve is simply wonderful and wonderfully used throughout the film.
The movie might be about 20 minutes too long and in some scenes the characters tend to talk too much in slogans rather than natural speech. But García wanted to be faithful to Cabrera Infante's script because, as he says, "you don't rewrite Hemingway." (Actually, this is not true: William Faulkner changed much of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not when he adapted it for the movie, and it's a great movie - better than the book.) But anyway, what the hell... Thumbs up for The Lost City! (Ebert and Roper agree!)"