In a tale akin to Romeo and Juliet, the friendship between two children is threatened by their parents' differences. Malu is from an upper-class family and her single mother does not want ...
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In a tale akin to Romeo and Juliet, the friendship between two children is threatened by their parents' differences. Malu is from an upper-class family and her single mother does not want her to play with Jorgito, as she thinks his background coarse and commonplace. Jorgito's mother is a poor socialist that is proud of her family's social standing. She places similar restriction on her son. What neither woman recognizes is the immense strength of the bond between Malu and Jorgito. When the children learn that Malu's mother is planning to leave Cuba, they decide to travel to the other side of the island to find Malu's father and persuade him against signing the forms that would allow it.Written by
A personal film in a country on the verge of change
If you are planning a trip to Cuba any time soon, here are complimentary tips:
1) Avoid this Island in July. unless you lived in a steam bath your whole life.
2) Expand the trip to the country side. Cuba is much more than cigars and salsa bars.
3) Whatever happens, never drive at night in the A1 freeway. it's wide and has no traffic but it has potholes big enough to have their own zip codes
Why am I telling you all this, you wonder? Well Cuba is an Island ensconced in revolutionary romanticism but shadowed by the stagnant leader who brought his country to the brink of bankruptcy. The U.S. embargo might be an inhibitor (and not a very justified one, I might add) but it's not the cause. There are plenty of reasons why there are hordes of Cubans wishing to go 98 miles north from Havana to the Miami border and leave the "revolution" for the enchanted tourists.
One of those people is Divorced middle aged woman who, after a short grieving period over her mother's death, decides that her future will not be on Cuban soil. Unfortunately, her daughter Malu is a close friend with Jorgito who's mother and Malu's mother are arch-enemies, mainly because Jorhito's mother is a devout communist and Malu's mother is a "burgois" (in Cuban terms) Christian (Christianity is a legitimate practice of faith in Cuba since 1989).
The disgruntled kids, Malu and Jorhito, know that once Malu's father will sign the exit authorization papers for his ex-wife, they will never see each other again. In a desperate attempt to save a deep bond that grown ups simply cannot attain, Malu and Jorhito go through a clandestine and perilous journey all the way from Havana in the North to Camaguay in the south. When I did this journey with my friend in a rental car, it took us 12 hours, 2 flat tires and the better part of 300$ so you can expect these 12 year old kids to stumble on a few obstacles of their own.
The voyage to the bottom of the last communist nation on this planet (and no, China is not even remotely communist these days) is a test of the friendship its meant to save but its also a unifier between the alienated mothers who find out that they have more in common than they thought or should is say, cared to believe.
The viewers get to find something else as well. They get to see Cuba outside the myth, away from the cigar factories, Hoze Marti's monuments and the colonialist architecture. Cuba is not only the one of Ernest Hemingway and Che's legacy of revolution, it's also the rural island of good natured people it always was. Even before Castro emerged from the Siera Madre and replaced a reign of tyranny with another.
Those who get to know Cubans, know that the fledgling economy, dilapidating buildings and obsolete infrastructure diminished Castro's appeal and although no one misses Batista, it's more than obvious that after Ilcommendante passes on, Cuba will go through a very profound metamorphosis. That is not to suggest that Cuba will become corporation-land like its northern neighbor but the winds of change are breezing into the mujitos. This film, although doesn't criticize Castro and even depicts an overly complimenting view of Havana, adds little hints that Che's Ideology is not immunized from mortality anymore than Che himself was.
Don't let my tedious manifest to make you believe this film is a history lesson or a camouflaged propaganda. This film is personal, it deals with the friendship of two 12 year old that are reluctant to succumb to the petty ways of the adult world. It's a story about two kids that rock their parents look on life simply by doing what they passionately believe in. The director, Juan Malberti knows that the appeal of the film is the genuineness of it's protagonists and he wisely let their acting talent (which they have in abundance) dictate the emotional scenes and set the tone of the film in general.
This film didn't make me put a "Hasta la Victoria siempre" (Che's motto meaning: always until triumph) sticker on my car but than again, that isn't its goal. This film is about the triumph of friendship over hardship and, aided with a great cast, wonderful writing and almost-flawless direction, this film is one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences I had in a very long while.I assume this movie can appeal to anyone, regardless of one's opinions about communism. The only Ideology endorsed in this film is that adult cynicism is never a match of the children's benevolent outlook.
Of course, if you are into movies, you know that already.
9 out of 10 in my FilmOmeter.
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