Monday, August 23, 2010

Things I Left In Havana (1997)

Veteran director Manuel Gutierrez Aragon provided a portrait of Cubans in Spain with this Spanish film, a winner of the Silver Spike at the 1997 Valladolid Film Festival. Three sisters -- aspiring actress Nena (Violeta Rodriguez), timid Ludmila (Broselianda Hernandez), and motherly Rosa (Isabel Santos) -- travel from Havana to Madrid to stay with their aunt Maria (Daisy Granados). Aboard the same plane is Barbaro (Luis Alberto Garcia), who stays with penniless but streetwise Igor (Jorge Perugorria), a man who thinks sleeping with Spanish women is the route to upward mobility. The impoverished Igor also creates forged passports to help others depart for Miami. The three girls move in with Maria, who lives downstairs from her friend Azucena (Kiti Manver). Minus papers, the trio is employed at Maria's fur shop. Matchmaker Maria brings Rosa together with awkward Javier (Pepon Nieto), but Javier goes for Nena instead. So does Igor after he spots Nena in a Cubano bar. Igor sleeps that night at Azucena's place, and the proximity to the sisters during the long night's journey into day makes a commotion and fracas almost a certainty. The film's music blends rumba, bolero, and tango. ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 110 mins
Things I Left In Havana (1997)

Dust Jacket:
Funny, poignant, and refreshing. THINGS I LEFT IN HAVANA sensitively explores the sense of loss felt by immigrants who discover that their dreams come with a high price. Three Cuban sisters come to Spain in search of a better life, but they must contend with exploitation and seduction as they pursue the capitalist dream.

Forced by their aunt (Daisy Grenados) to work in her fur store, they are each in turn seduced by Igor,a dashing gigolo who barters sexual favors for the freedom in America that exit visas provide.

Actually, the movie is more about how to get legal papers so they can work in Spain and I saw no real mention of "America". Igor although a gigolo has serious cash flow problems as the girls do also.

Javier is seduced by the timid Ludmila, after being rudely rejected by Nena in public with Igor. She asks about his experiences in seeing naked women and he finally confesses that he has only seen his mother naked and at which time she slaps him. He remembers the way the breasts swayed back and forth. Ludmila then proceeds to show one breast and let him squeeze it a bit and then plays with his chest.

Basically a cute movie and the reviews are right that there is a conflict on what to do. Although Ludmila refuses to go back and as such she takes on the responsibilities that Rosa fails at to make sure that the family has money, Nena has doubts and thinks about going back after her struggles to get papers and to find rewarding work for an actress. She also is upset with her director as he waters down the script and makes it more pro-capitalistic.

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