That’s what they say…. it’s only 90 miles away! FREEDOM seems so close yet it is another world and century away. I had the great joy of viewing UNA NOCHE at the Tribeca Film Festival last week.
UNA NOCHE takes us to Havana Cuba where we get an intimate glimpse into the lives of three young adults. They are poor, discouraged, desperate and oppressed. Their lives are minimal, sometimes miserable and they reveal life in Castro’s Communist Cuba, sometimes not so bad and sometimes very.
It’s the story of three teenagers who try to escape their island home and life of poverty. Actually, only one of the three yearns for freedom from oppression and he longs to reunite with his father, who left years ago and has never been heard from again. It’s Raul’s fantasy that’s the impetus of the expedition. He can’t do this on his own, so he entices Elio, his friend and obsessed admirer to take on the task of building the raft. And then there’s the very pretty Lila; She is deeply attached to her brother Elio, her own savior in a chaotic household. Her teenage angst is fueled by the scorn some cliquey classmates and the knowledge that her father is cheating on her mother.
Overall the snapshot of life in Cuba that we see, is quite dismal. The fact that it is a police state is quite evident and the dark side of Socialism, the black market flourishes. As one line in the movie states, “Nothing is for sale in Cuba and you can buy anything….”
The movie is a powerful 86 minute drama and I don’t want to be a spoiler. The film and its actors won awards at the Film Festival- well deserved!
However, it was the disappearance of the two twenty-year old actors, Javier Nunez Florian and Anailin de la Rua de la Torre, a real life couple who portray the brother and sister in the movie, that has gotten more press than the film itself. The three actors were invited to attend the Tribeca Film Festival. When their plane landed in Miami for a layover before flying to New York, the two disappeared. When the plane landed at JFK airport, it was discovered that their luggage was empty, implying this was a pre-meditated plan. Indeed it was, as now 10 days later, the two have surfaced in Miami and announced their intention to defect and have hired a lawyer to assist in their claim for asylum.
I wish them the best and hope they are successful in their desire to remain in America. I’ve been to Cuba and although life as depicted in the film is somewhat exaggerated for effect, and I understand that although things are loosening up since Fidel stepped down, it’s still basically a repressed society.
- Missing Cuban Actor Javier Nunez Floria Wins Top Award at Tribeca for “Una Noche” (hispanicallyspeakingnews.com)
- ‘Noche’ notches kudos at Tribeca (variety.com)
- Two Cuban actors who went missing to seek US asylum (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Actors follow American dream and flee from Cuba (rt.com)