When his father dies, a Cuban man who was raised in the United States, learns that he was not abandoned by his mother but illegally taken out of Cuba. He goes back to the island and is ...
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When his father dies, a Cuban man who was raised in the United States, learns that he was not abandoned by his mother but illegally taken out of Cuba. He goes back to the island and is helped in his search by a cousin and a taxi driver. Written by
Edgar Soberón Torchia <email@example.com>
The first time I watched the film, I wasn't that impressed, but I watched it again and realized that there's a lot more to it. Solas uses melodrama as a vehicle to explore the pain that Cuban exiles feel when they come back to the island, but it's a very restrained form of melodrama and a lot of the changes the main character, Roberto (Jorge Perugorría) undergoes are subtle. It takes time for someone to change a lifetime of thinking and learn to see the past in a different light. The pace may seem slow compared to Hollywood films, but this really isn't a light romantic comedy. It has moments of humor and fun, but essentially it's a serious drama about the search for identity. Perugorría does a great job of portraying the uptight, emotionally crippled Roberto, and it's great to see him loosen up and become more "Cuban" once he gets to the island. Pilar and Antonio are fantastic characters who help him understand more about life in Cuba. He realizes everything he's missed by growing up in the U.S. and not sharing the same fate as Cubans on the island. He gives up his starched shirts and rental cars and ends up riding bikes and hitchhiking like everyone else. He leaves the five star hotel in Havana and sleeps in the huts where country people live. You can literally see him transforming himself into someone else as he moves through the film. This film doesn't show Cuba in overly romantic terms, but it's a pretty realistic and intelligent look at what it means to be Cuban. Roberto isn't as likeable as some of the characters Perugorría has played in other films, but I think that just shows the range of Perugorría's talents. We don't have to love Roberto to sympathize with him.
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