Viva Cuba

Director: Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti

After graduating from Havana’s Cinema, Theatre and Drama program at the Higher Institute of the Arts, writer/director Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti devoted the first part of his filmmaking career contributing to children’s programming. His obvious affection for young actors and youth rights is put to excellent use with Viva Cuba, which earned the Junior Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was Cuba’s official submission to the Academy Awards after being chosen as an official selection at festivals around the globe. The film tells the story of two young friends who find their youthful innocence and enjoyment of spending time together impacted by disapproving parents regarding the children’s division of class, religion and political beliefs. When the religious, snobbish single mother of Malu (Tarrau Broche) decides she wants to leave Cuba after the death of her mother, Malu enlists the help of the working class, socialist Jorgito (Milo Avila) in running away to the other end of the island in order to persuade Malu’s estranged lighthouse-keeper father not to sign the paperwork that would allow her mother to leave the country and all the friends her daughter has come to know. While it’s easy at first glance of the film’s synopsis and opening moments to consider it to be in the neorealist tradition, the highly imaginative director uses some hyper cuts, embellished sound effects, and fantastical elements to liven up the tale from making it too dour. Although we know from other films in this vein (and from the ultimate “kid in crisis” film, The 400 Blows which seems to be a direct influence on the ending of Viva Cuba) that it will not end happily, it’s nonetheless a refreshing approach to the story as it contains numerous elements and ingredients that make it a fine candidate to show young teens curious about the world of foreign film, especially as one critic noted that it seemed to be a bit inspired by Romeo and Juliet. Just eighty minutes that whisk by faster than the children can run, Viva Cuba is a colorful, sad, and lovely entry into the Film Movement series with mature and memorable portrayals by its two young leads.

First Film For $1 Promotion