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 »
A desperate group of people wait at a rundown Cuban transit station for the next bus to arrive. The problem is, it never shows up. While a number of busses pass by the station, and others ... See full summary »
Juan Carlos Tabío
After finishing high school teenagers Oliver, Moises, and Heminway go on an emotive journey through the Dominican Republic in search of their life calling. What begins as a celebration of their friendship ends as a final farewell.
In Havana, a post office branch is more than a place of bureaucratic rules and regulations to ensure effective public services. This is where Carla Perez works. A young dreamer, this ... See full summary »
Alex and Natalie, two individuals, who, in every romantic relationship, never get drawn into a formal relationship, who are looking to have fun without any commitments beyond three months, ... See full summary »
"Piñero" tells the story of the explosive life of a Latino icon, the poet-playwright-actor Miguel Piñero, whose urban poetry is recognized as a pre-cursor to rap and hip-hop. After doing ... See full summary »
Sergio (Sergio Corrieri - Soy Cuba), through his life following the departure of his wife, parents and friends in the wake of the Bay of Pigs incident. Alone in a brave new world, Sergio ... See full summary »
Ben, a frustrated writer has decided to end his life. But when his suicide attempt is unknowingly interrupted by his neighbor, who has come to ask for a favor, his life will be thrown in ... See full summary »
Francisco Adolfo Valdez
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
Leon Ichaso's "Azucar Amarga" came and went without much fanfare. This was a film made with little money and without any big distributor to give it more exposure in the American market. The film is critical of the way Cuba, as a society, started the current trend after the loss of patronage of the old Soviet Union in the late eighties. In order to get the badly needed hard currency, Cuba opened its doors to a massive invasion of international tourism, mainly from Europe and South America. With that, the US dollar was legalized. The results can be seen in this film that examines that society.
First of all, for those that have expressed their skepticism about the young people injecting themselves with AIDS infected blood, obviously, they haven't read the accounts by different world newspapers, and the New York Times, locally. This is a phenomenon that desperate people will resort to in order to escape the fact they are looked down in their own society for daring to be different.
The other aspect one sees in the film is the prostitution being practiced among young women with college education as a way to make ends meet. This kind of sex tourism is being practiced in the island. European men flock to Cuba in search of beautiful women they couldn't otherwise afford in their own countries. Yolanda, the beautiful woman in the film, turns to the Italian Claudio as a way to have things she couldn't have otherwise.
Another issue in the film involves the equality the revolution promised. When Gustavo and Yolanda go to the beach bar to get a cold drink, they are turned away. Since everything must be paid in dollars, it's clear the two young lovers don't belong. The hotels are basically for tourists that can pay and not the poor locals. Gustavo's father is another typical example of how some professionals, trying to get access to dollars, go into tourist oriented jobs like playing piano in hotel lounges. Thomas, is a psychiatrist whose job in the local currency equals about a few dollars a month!
Leon Ichaso and his collaborators clearly know what they are talking about. The result is a film that is an eye opener about what the reality is in that unfortunate land. The revolution might have started with good intentions, but after more than forty years the only way to make it out of there is either to marry a foreigner, or take to the open seas and hope they make it to either Miami, or Central America, if the sharks don't get to them first.
Claudio Chea's black and white cinematography works well in the film. The music score is pleasant. Rene Lavan, Mayte Villain, Miguel Gutierrez and the rest of the cast respond well to the direction Mr. Ichaso gave them. This is a film that tries to make sense of what's going on in that country.
14 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?