A hugely popular comedy hit in Cuba in early 2003, this is the story of Tomas (Mijail Mulkay), a trainee telephone repairman in Havana, newly employed by the phone company, constantly being confronted by the frustrations caused by a socialist system that rigidly controls the way that life - and business - is conducted. Having just lost his apartment in a hurricane, Tomas is forced to move in with Monica, his hairdresser girlfriend, desperate to get a telephone at any cost. When Tomas meets Adriana, an older woman and a foreigner, with a luxury apartment and three telephone lines, the opportunity for Tomas to obtain a line for Monica presents itself. But complications immediately ensue. The movie is obviously a low budget production, lacking studio sets, but for anyone who is interested in a candid, "back street" view of Havana, with raw and unglamorous footage of the city's tenements, this is an absolute must. A charmingly loopy look at the constant frustrations the Cuban people must contend with on a day to day basis, with wonderfully funny details unexpectedly tossed in from time to time. One can smell the frustration of these people, not quite as gullible in accepting the communist ethic as their government would wish. A laugh out loud performance from Mijail Mulkay as the constantly embattled Tomas and a good, almost-documentary approach to direction by Enrique Colina. Worth seeing for the off-the-beaten-track view of Havana's back streets and the irreverent, comedic view of life in a socialist state. A big hit with the Cuban people, who know what it's all about!
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