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Things I Left in Havana (1997)

Cast: Jorge Perugorria, Jorge Perugorria, Violeta Rodriguez, more...
Director: Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Vanguard Cinema
Genre: Comedies, Drama, Foreign, Spain
Running Time: 110 min.
Languages: Spanish
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

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

GreenCine Member Reviews

Cubans in Spain by talltale October 3, 2004 - 4:38 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I rented THINGS I LEFT IN HAVANA because it was helmed by Manuel Gutierrez Aragon, one of my favorite directors who has already given us a great film for our new century, "Visionarios." This one, made in 1997, is no masterpiece, but it is interesting and unusual (to America eyes, at least) as it deals with the situation of Cuban émigrés in Spain. Three Cuban sisters join their aunt in Spain and try to make their way in this new capitalist country, while another set of characters--two brothers, wife and child--do the same. Paths cross, and the viewer gets a fair idea of what it must be like to occupy this special territory. While the film is lovely to look at and features fine performances (especially from, as usual, Jorge Perugorria), one has the sense that this was perhaps based on a novel much longer and richer and so events and characters may have been unfortunately telescoped to fit the typical "movie" format. Still, it's worth a watch if you enjoy films about family or foreign locales that combine a little economics, politics, feminism and, of course, sex. The way the movie handles its single gay character will raise the ire of activists, but--hey--this kind of thing could conceivably happen, if not quite so easily as shown here.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.10)
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