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Life is to Whistle (1998)
"La vida es silbar" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  18 June 1999 (Spain)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 594 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 15 critic

Three characters in present-day Havana must choose between clinging to their self-restricting beliefs, or getting rid of them to live more freely. Ballerina Mariana has promised God ... See full summary »


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Title: Life is to Whistle (1998)

Life is to Whistle (1998) on IMDb 6.9/10

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17 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
José Andrade ...
Obrero Teatro
Maudelet Badia ...
Odalisca 2
Elena Bolaños ...
Anciana Asilo
Rolando Brito ...
Dr. Fernando
Alina Canizares ...
Profesora 1
Leandro Carfuso ...
Ines Maria Castillo ...
Cuba Valdes
Ileana Chávez ...
Secretaria 1
Michaelis Cue ...
Annieye Cárdenas ...
Miguel A. Daranas ...
Director Asilo
Aramís Delgado ...
Aimeé Despaigne ...
Profesora 2
Madeleine Garcia ...
Secretaria 2
Luis Alberto García ...
Elpidio Valdes


Three characters in present-day Havana must choose between clinging to their self-restricting beliefs, or getting rid of them to live more freely. Ballerina Mariana has promised God celibacy if she gets the role of "Giselle"; Social-worker Julia always faints after hearing a certain word; and pot-smoking percussionist Elpidio was abandoned by his mother, coincidentally named Cuba, some time ago and has not yet gotten over the loss. Written by Gonz30

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Tres historias, tres personajes y un fin común: la búsqueda de la felicidad en La Habana de hoy.




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Release Date:

18 June 1999 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Life is to Whistle  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,846 (USA) (7 January 2000)


$63,574 (USA) (10 November 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

A wonderful love letter from a Cuban director to his own country
24 March 1999 | by (Bologna, Italia) – See all my reviews

A love letter, sincere though not lacking criticisms, from the director to his country. I love the style of this Cuban director whose work I see for the first time though this is not his first one. In it three stories evolve, while a narrator decides the sakes of the characters, with the whistling acting as a trait d'union working as the image of a much wished freedom of expression. Original is the idea of depicting as orphans all the characters, maybe with the intention of suggesting to the world that Cuba starts suffering for lack of affection, because of the isolation she is forced to, by the manouevres of those who believe the capital is more important than the people. And while this image might seem too tender with Cuba, not so is the story of Julia, a woman who faints any time she hears the word "sexo", and of Dr. Fernando who shall show her, causing a comic carnage of passers-by, that a lot are the words which aren't willfully heard on the island. Then there's the story of choices to be done: she is a dancer who has to choose between him, dancing, God, orienting herself amongst a myriad of overridings and troubles. Eventually there's Elpidio, who dreams of a mother by the name of Cuba, has a true declaration of love tattooed on his back, then feels betrayed and has the tattoo burnt. ("Nobody is perfect", he reassures an ugly beggar at the end of the film, attempting to find a consolation statement for both) refusing a possible escape to another place and another love, no matter what. The final meeting of the characters in an unusually deserted Plaza de la Revoluciòn is, like most of the film, a mix of melancholy and hope for a future with more freedom and opportunity.

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