Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

Viva Cuba Libre – **

Posted: March 27, 2016 in 2013, Cuba, Documentary, Musical, USA, XX

What’s the point of making a documentary about a controversial Cuban rap group, if you don’t use subtitles when the artists actually rap?

It’s frustrating, because already from the beginning you start empathizing with the rapping duo. And you wánt to know what they rap about. The government bans them, they can’t sell cd’s and they can’t perform. The police also arrests fans of the band who play listen to their music. So it’s pretty important to know what it is that they actually rap about.

It’s explained though via interviews, but still. The lack of subtitles during the songs totally ruined it. And the fact that the documentary clearly avoids any negative depiction of the main characters. They may well be good hearted ideologists, but I’m sure they aren’t always angels either.

We all know that Cubans don’t believe in their government’s ideology anymore. We all know they can’t express it in fear of retribution. But you may not have heard about this underground band who’s quite popular amongst the youth.

The most interesting scenes are the ones where bold kids rave about their idols, while their cautious friends try to temper their enthusiasm, because you never know… paranoia rules!


Sure, it’s a brave documentary (it’s filmed with hidden camera’s and the risk of being arrested) and you do get to see another Cuba, but it’s not really a must see either.

Life is shit in Cuba.

This is the main feeling you get after watching this drama made with Spanish money and filmed in Puerto Rico.

Two friends, who often meet playing soccer together, feel attracted to each other, but can’t really share their love with the outside world. Yosvani lives with his girlfriend in her father’s comfortable house: Reinier lives with his wife and baby and mother-in-law in a shabby apartment. The latter is the most interesting character: gambler and soccer player by day, prostitute by night. Too bad the actor (and the director) didn’t make him more compelling and appealing. The former is less interesting: a troubled closeted and naive dreamer. Strangely enough he gets all the sympathy.

The story is captivating and shocking at times (the mother-in-law acts like a pimp and encourages Reinier to go fuck rich Europeans and bring home the money) and it’s okay to show the reality of the popular tourist destination, but in order to digest it well you need humor at times and some action. There are some moments of fun (at the fair and at the beach), but the sadness outweighs the happiness.

If you want to feel miserable watching other people be miserable, then this is your movie!