Cuba

José Martí: The Eye of the Canary

José Martí: El ojo del canario

Little is known of the childhood and youth of the great 19th-century Cuban liberator, José Martí. This robust biopic imagines his early years. The son of a magistrate, the precocious Martí — “Pepe” to family and friends — takes an early interest in justice. Gradually he enters the nascent independence movement and, not yet 18, is arrested for sedition. Respectful, yet not worshipful, this is a portrait of the revolutionary as a young man, and a stirring historical drama besides.

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Esther Somewhere

Esther en alguna parte

Featuring an impressive roster of Cuba’s stage and film actors, Gerardo Chijona’s charming new film centres around two elderly gentlemen and the women they once loved. Still mourning the death of his wife Maruja, Lino Catalá’s now simple life is turned topsy-turvy when Larry Po, a man suffering from multiple personalities, informs him that Maruja led a double life as a bolero singer. Both men join forces to find out the truth about Maruja and the whereabouts of Esther Rodenas, the great love of Larry’s life.

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The Last Supper

La última cena

During the late 18th century in Cuba, a Spanish count and owner of a sugar mill decides to hold a dinner during Holy Week with twelve of his slaves as an allegory of Jesus with his twelve apostles at the Last Supper. When racial inferiority is predicated as “God’s will” and exploitation exceeds what the human soul can bare, a slave uprising threatens the fate of the sugar plantation. 

With this fictional story, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, one of Cuba’s most renowned directors, presents how religion and politics naturalized the crimes and abuses inherent in slavery.

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Maluala

During the era of the Spanish colonial rule, a settlement of escaped slaves (called palenques) located in the Sierra Maestra in eastern Cuba is the site of an epic story about the struggle for unconditional freedom for the black population. Surrounded by an atmosphere of treachery and war, the black leaders will have to decide whether to strive for a partial freedom that promises a halfway peace, or total equality for their people—a fight that could result in the extermination of their communities. 

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Memories of Underdevelopment

Memorias del subdesarrollo

In honour of the 55th Anniversary of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is thrilled to present this screening of the classic Cuban film Memories of Underdevelopment. Hailed by many critics as the most sophisticated film ever to come out of Cuba, Memories of Underdevelopment is the masterpiece of visionary Cuban director and ICAIC co-founder Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. The film appears in many experts’ lists of the Top 100 films of all time.

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Esther Somewhere

Esther en alguna parte

Featuring an impressive roster of Cuba’s stage and film actors, Gerardo Chijona’s charming new film centres around two elderly gentlemen and the women they once loved. Still mourning the death of his wife Maruja, Lino Catalá’s now simple life is turned topsy-turvy when Larry Po, a man suffering from multiple personalities, informs him that Maruja led a double life as a bolero singer. Both men join forces to find out the truth about Maruja and the whereabouts of Esther Rodenas, the great love of Larry’s life.

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Viva Cuba

In a tale akin to Romeo and Juliet, the friendship between two children on the verge of adolescence is threatened by their parents’ differences, one from an upper-class family and the other from a proud, but poor, socialist one. When the children learn that Malú's mother is planning to leave Cuba, they decide to run away together to find Malú's father and persuade him against signing the permission forms.

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