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(Review originally written at 3 November 2007)

This is a rather good and surprising Cuban movie, focusing on homosexuality in Communist Cuba. It's not the sort of movie you expect coming from Cuba and on top of that it also isn't a movie that stays on the surface but goes in into the subject real deep.

It's not a movie that focuses on the physical relationship between the two main characters but more between the spiritual relationship of the two, which is a surprising approach. So, it's not a 'standard' movie about two man falling in love with each other, as you at first might expect when watching this movie. It's a movie that goes much deeper and therefor gets more layered, interesting and compelling to watch. It's great to see how the two of them grow toward each other, in a non-forced or formulaic way. It feels like a warm and very realistic movie, since it never chooses to diverse from its main plot-line and mainly focuses purely on the two main characters of the movie.

Vladimir Cruz gives a good and realistic performance. But one thing that bothered me about him was that he was very popular in both male and female camp, which seemed weird and funny to me, since he really didn't looked like an handsome guy. But who knows, maybe this is the Cuban's idea of a pretty looking man. Jorge Perugorría also did a good job, although he performance as an homosexual character seemed a bit too feminine and over-the-top to me at certain points. He played the character like an obvious stereotype of a gay person but he did it in such a good and sincere way that it wasn't always a problem.

I was also surprised by the look and overall atmosphere of the movie. Foreign movies, made outside of Cuba, always focus- and shows its visual beauty, of wide beaches, palms, beautiful music and people living there. It's a sort of an almost surreal and alternate world if you look at it. This movie is however more dark and gritty and shows the ugly side of Havana, both visually as with its themes and underlying comments.

Some of the symbolism and underlying messages in the dialog are a bit too obvious, as if they were trying too hard, but this is perhaps the only real flaw in the movie its excellent story and directing of the movie.

Don't know why the movie is often being regarded and treated as a comedy. It's above all an heavy drama but done in a light and more pleasant sort of way, but those are no reasons for me to regard this movie as a comedy. The movie uses the more European style and approach of the story and characters. So be sure what to expect when watching this movie.

A great and relevant movie because of its themes, and I assume also a big step forward for gay-right and tolerance in Cuba.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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