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|Index||19 reviews in total|
I was really looking forward to seeing this film as it's about sisters and as a sister myself, this is a subject I understand and love. I was not disappointed. Day of the Flowers brilliantly conveys the competitive, irritating, sometimes nasty but ultimately loving relationship between sisters. Eva Birthistle, as the complicated Rosa, sets off from Glasgow on a crazy mission to Cuba with an illicit bag containing her father's ashes, accompanied (to her dismay) by her sister Ailie (beautifully played by Charity Wakefield) and kilt-wearing friend Conway (Bryan Dick). Of course when they arrive things don't exactly turn out as expected and their encounter with a Cuban conman (the excellent Christopher Simpson) leads Rosa into potential danger. Quietly observing the action is tour guide Tomas (Carlos Acosta) and he is soon embroiled in the sisters' adventure, being especially protective towards headstrong Rosa. Most of the film is set in Cuba and the vibrancy and excitement of this lovely island, full of colour, music, dancing and amazing scenery is almost enough in itself. The Cuban cast is excellent and Carlos Acosta proves himself as an accomplished actor. I would have liked to have seen him dance a bit more but had to be satisfied with a tantalizing glimpse of him gently teaching a young dancer in his ballet class . Sigh!! All in all, a very entertaining and heart-warming film that looks great. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and so did the rest of the audience.
I didn't know what to expect: I suppose another pro-Cuban story with
the achievements of Carlos Acosta propping up a sameness of this genre.
How wrong could I have been? This was a great wee film that soon got me
caught up in its pathos - straight into the plot with great and
sensitive humour. The story was totally believable and the sisters -
excellently played by the actors - were ably supported by Acosta,
Simpson and the cast. No goody-goody Cubans sacrificing all for the
revolution but a look a the dark side as well. As in every good movie,
plot and sub plot rotate and change and co-relate.
This film, for me, had all of this and laughs all the way. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable film - from its left wing origins through to the realities of life in today's Cuba... warts and all. Well done to Houston, Roberts & co for a fine wee film.
I had a great night last night. Braving trains, taxis and troublesome
tram works MBH and I enjoyed a night at the Edinburgh Film Festival.
The Day of the Flowers is about family and friendship. It's about love
and death, truth and lies, about revolution and evolution.
I'd heard about this film and the politics of getting a film about Cuba made in Cuba. So I was thrilled to see it.
If there was one thing I would have liked, it would be more Glasgow. The film starts here with sisters Rosa and Ailie rescuing their dead father from being made into a golf trophy by their stepmother. It's funny, and sets the Glaswegian perspective through which we are shown Cuba. There are certain factors which make the film work for me. And it really does.
In other reviews, Rosa has been described as "a headstrong idealist". And that much they've managed to get right. I like headstrong idealists. I like seeing them on my cinema screens. All too often they are a vehicle for people who don't want us to be headstrong idealists to tell us that headstrong idealists are naive. This doesn't happen in The Day of the Flowers, which is refreshing. She's beautifully played by Eva Birthistle. The story of her relationship with her sister, and the discoveries both make about their parents offer a compelling, human story.
Carlos Acosta is a star. That's not an opinion, he just is. A global dance sensation, this is his first big role in a feature film. The first of many, by the looks of things. His Tomas is a modern Cuban, who has toured the world and returned to his homeland to educate young and old. He takes the girls (especially Rosa who needs it most) under his wing. His performance has that thing you only know when you see it - an apparent effortlessness which can only be achieved through talent and professionalism. I know and love a lot of the music which underpins the film and carries with it the seductive sunshine so beautifully captured. Which brings us to -
Cuba is beautiful. Cuba in The Day of the Flowers is a gift to anyone who loves photography and the moving image. Sunshine seems to flood the sky. We are shown the difference between the big corporate hotels and the Cuba that Cubans live in. Visually stunning, the island also has a rich culture and a history of political independence which really matters. This isn't a film about politics, but the fact that things are different in Cuba is plain to see, as well as the benefits and costs of that difference. I know I said I wanted more Glasgow, but 80-90 per cent of this film is in Cuba. And I wanted a lot more Cuba.
In the end, film is a way of telling a story. And stories are about people. And what this film is about is that moment when you're not entirely sure of yourself or your situation, and you're not entirely sure if you should or you shouldn't, but you ask someone if they'd like to dance with you. And they do. And because you did, you never have to wish you had or regret you hadn't.
If you haven't, and you can, see this film. You won't regret it.
I saw it at the Edinburgh Film festival and love it. Two quarrelling sisters become reluctant travel partners when they set off from Scotland to Cuba. Their journey throws up more than a few surprises and laughs along the way. Their quest to discover more about their father's communist past leads to a voyage of self discovery. The humour is balanced with an intelligent portrayal of how each sister struggles, in different ways, with the cultural stereotypes and socio- political tensions that arise. The writer, Eirenie Houston, offers a balanced assessment of the complexities associated with tourism in Cuba, avoiding sentimentality or judgement. Set in the ambiance of Havana, with stunning cinematography and beautiful dance scenes, not least from the Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, this film will have you heading down to the travel agents.
Day of flowers invites it's audience to join two Scottish sisters Rosa (Eva Birthistle) and Ailie (Charity Wakefield) in an amusing and fun Cuban adventure. After stealing their father's ashes they decide to take a trip to Cuba to sprinkle the ashes there as their late father was a revolutionary. Little do they know not only will it be a trip to say goodbye to their father but it will be a journey of discovery. The film is beautifully shot which captures the spirit of Cuba with a notable performance from dancer Carlos Acosta (one to watch in the future I think). An enjoyable 100 minutes viewing with plenty to keep your attention. Love, comedy, dancing and fun. It's great to see Scottish films coming into the limelight.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Respecting Cuba on the big screen demands that the country's contrasts are addressed without glorification, and Eirene Houston's screenplay provides the necessary balance of locational beauty and unpatronising social commentary in her 2012 film 'Day of the Flowers.' When their father dies suddenly, chalk-and-cheese sisters Rosa and Ailie fly to Cuba a place close to the heart of the family to scatter his ashes. On their first night in the country, they are taken to a popular dancing club: a money-making outlet dealing in crude approximations of Cuban authenticity. Ailie loves the spectacle; Rosa is uneasy. 'They have to give tourists what think they'll like,' she is solemnly informed by a fellow traveller. Some may argue that in turn, giving cinema-goers 'what they like' would involve a multiplication of sassy, humid dance scenes on one hand, and less focus on Rosa's unpleasant experience with a poverty- stricken Cuban family on the other. However, the sequence depicting Rosa's trauma is powerful and valid; not only does it frankly acknowledge conditions which for many are a reality; in addition, the results on Rosa's character are complex and pivotal. For the first time, the viewer is shown the value she holds for her own life: a value previously eclipsed by her admirable (yet occasionally misguided) compassion. As she is told later in the film, one cannot 'fight for the revolution every day.' Before her ordeal, she had begun to lose vital strands of her own self in the attempt. This a film with a deep reverence for Cuba; its vitality, strength and contradictions yet with a simultaneous commitment to the parallel nuances of its human characters. Carlos Acosta's Tomas is serene yet deeply powerful, and one cannot miss the luxurious twinkle during his first meeting with Rosa. He understands that she must make peace with herself before she can achieve her goal of facilitating peace for others, and as such, there is a complexity to their rapport which elevates it beyond that of a generic, plot- driven romance. An unfaltering understanding of the blossom and thorns of another's character is an essential ingredient of love as it should be. The film understands this, and watching the pair bristle towards their combined fate is genuinely cathartic; a dynamic that is mirrored and complimented by the presentation of the sisters' own relationship. Eva Birthistle's Rosa is sincere and relatable in her humanity, while Manuel de Blas and Charity Wakefield provide what is for me the most moving moment of the piece, in a single exchange of glance. This is a thoughtful, sumptuous piece of cinema which should not be allowed to fall off the map through lack of deserved exposure.
I didn't know what to expect of this film, but having visited Cuba and
having an interest to see Carlos Acosta, I went out of curiosity. It
turned out to be my best night out in ages. The film has so much to
interest you at so many different levels.
Firstly, it's a decent storyline.
Secondly, the characterisation is excellent. I loved the way the balance of power shifts between the "headstrong" sister to the seemingly "superficial" one. It was very easy for me to empathise. The characters actually develop over the course of the film, just as, in real life, we change as a result of what we experience. This change was really credible and quite different from other films.
Thirdly, the film setting in Cuba was vibrant and exciting.
Fourthly Carlos Acosta's dancing (say no more) and also his acting (for the first time) was great.
Fourthly, there were tense and scary bits in the film, which I'd liken to some of those in Slumdog Millionnaire.
Fifth, there was an unexpected twist.
All in all a superb, 10 out of 10 film! I do so wish it could go on general release. I've recommended it to all my friends but don't know how they'll ever get to see it.
Being an independent filmmaker is a tough life armed with a screenplay that can't be filed under blockbuster, edgy hipster fodder or wacky comedy how do you get the commercials right so you can make it? Fortunately everything worked beautifully in this case and Day of the Flowers is that rare thing that British filmmakers often do best - it's a finely-crafted film about people. Set in Glasgow and Cuba the film examines the relationship between two sisters and their dead parents as they travel to Cuba to scatter their father's ashes. The unfolding story is a road movie, a drama and a gentle comedy of manners all rolled into one and is utterly engaging. The interplay between Rosa (Eva Birthistle) and Ailie (Charity Wakefield) is beautifully written and acted. If it's the well-judged pace and dialogue that keep the audience engaged the Cuban scenery and music play a big part too and any political analysis quickly gives way to the far more important consideration of the human condition.
I just loved this film. I was intrigued to see Carlos Acosta in an acting role as I had recently seen him as a Royal Opera House Covent Garden principal dancer. I wasn't let down as he was such a natural with a wonderfully understated presence on screen. And when he did dance I wanted to see more. It was a joy to watch! What made the film even better was the script from beginning to end. I believed in the sisters. They were real to me. The setting in Glasgow so familiar in contrast to the action in Cuba. What poverty can reduce people to. A place made attractive by its music and sunshine. This is a gem of a film. I want to watch it again.
Day of the Flowers is an exciting and engaging film about two sisters taking their father's ashes to Cuba. At first it would appear that the sisters are complete polar opposites, Rosa the politico and Alli the fashionista, as the story unfolds we see that underneath the sisters are more alike than they realise. The story unfolds in Cuba which provides a stunning backdrop. "Day of the Flowers" allows us to glimpse the darker side of Cuba as well as the touristic, I found this very refreshing. The characters are well thought out and developed and beautifully acted, especially Rosa - Eva Birthiste, Alli - Charity Wakefield and Thomas-Carlos Acosta. We get to see human nature in all it's complexities. The mix of the exotic and neurotic makes "Day of the Flowers" a feel good movie, I left the cinema wanting more and with a curiosity to find out what the next chapter holds for the sisters and Thomas. I would highly recommend this film to everyone, go see it and enjoy the visual feast.
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