Gustavo is a young Havana Communist who believes in the revolution; he hopes for a scholarship to study aeronautical engineering in Prague. But his faith in the new Cuba is tested: his ... See full summary »
This Oscar nominated film is the story of two men who are opposites, one gay, the other straight, one a fierce communist, the other a fierce individualist, one suspicious, the other accepting, and how they come to love each other.
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea,
Juan Carlos Tabío
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Gustavo is a young Havana Communist who believes in the revolution; he hopes for a scholarship to study aeronautical engineering in Prague. But his faith in the new Cuba is tested: his father, a psychiatrist, can make four times as much playing piano at a hotel for foreigners; his sweetheart, Yolanda, wants a career as a dancer and longs for the riches of Miami; his younger brother Bobby simply wants to play rock music, and as a result is in constant trouble with the authorities. When Bobby takes a shocking step of revolt and Gustavo is refused service at a foreigners-only bar, the contradictions in his resolve to become a "new man" push him to the breaking point. Written by
It is amazing how many people are ready to criticize this movie when they have NO direct knowledge of Cuba or its sociopolitical situation.
Myself, I have been to Cuba, traveled its highways, walked many of its cities and towns' streets, and had long conversations with the common people as well as government officials.
As a result, I can tell everyone reading this that in no uncertain terms that the problems portrayed in Azucar Amarga are very real. The prostitution, tourist aparteid, and growing dispair shown in this film are completely accurate.
Cuba is a country coming apart at the seams due to its contridictory existence as a communist state embracing the capitalist tourism industry to survive. Those Cuban with access to tourist dollars are surviving and those without access now beg in the streets. It is heart-wrenching but true.
Please avoid snap judgements of this film's accuracy until you too have spent weeks living the Cuban experience. Until then, you know nothing.
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