Posts Tagged ‘Tribeca Film Festival’

one night, no return, Javier Nunez Florian and Anailin de la Rua de la Torre, Tribeca Film Festival


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.

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Tribeca Film Festival design

Tribeca Film Festival design (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today was my day and night at the movies!  I got an early birthday present from my friend, Barbara – she took me to see Una Noche, a movies entered into the Tribeca Film FestivalUna Noche was a really well-done small movie.  It won’t play in the big houses, it’s a small indie based upon a true story.  But this post isn’t about that film…

This evening we went to see The Five Year Engagement, a film generating way more buzz than it deserves.  It was actually the opening night movie for the Tribeca Film Festival! God, what does that tell us?  Have film festivals sold themselves out to the big-monied studios who  see regional film festivals as yet another way to promote their flicks ? I guess bus stop shelters, the sides of a city bus and posters in the subway stations are just not enough!

The Five Year Engagement has some very good actors and some fairly mediocre and as in the case of many a tennis match. the lesser players pulls down the game of the better.  Emily Blunt is good, David Paymer was perfect for the role of Tom’s father and I particularly liked Lauren Weedman in the very minor role of Chef Sally. 

The story is not unfamiliar to us; boy meets girl, they  instantly fall in love and a year later decide to marry.  But from the onset everything about the engagement is awkward.  The extended on again and off again engagement took 5 years, the movie was 124 minutes.  They should have gotten married right after the first year and the movie should have been 86 minutes. By the way, 86 minutes is my new code word for the appropriate length of a movie or show that is going on too long.   There was a whole big middle in this one that could have been cut out. 

It was supposed to be a romantic comedy and yes I did laugh out loud at several lines but I didn’t think it was very romantic.  This movie is typical of what is being produced today, too long, too trite, too many mini bytes and a think story line at best.

When we got home and turned on the television, The Way We Were, was playing.  Now there’s a romantic movie.  First of all, it had Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand and Bradford Dillman.  And the story had depth, interest, several characters all acting like real people rather than caricatures of of themselves.  I mean a knitted tuxedo, deer hoof mugs and home-made honey mead (The Five Year Engagement)?   Really now!!!

If you want to see a romantic movie with your significant other, I strongly suggest you stay home and rent The Way We Were.  It’s cheaper, better, shorter and you’ll be be able to reach for the tissues without bothering anyone else in the theater.

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