Havanna, Mi Amor

(Havana, My Love)

The poverty and hardships encountered in Cuba's daily life don't stop some people from still finding fun in their lives. Love and sexuality are abundant on their streets (as well as in their beds) as they move to the beat and shake to the rhythm. Their television sets may be in constant need of repair, but they still manage to get the telenovela diet they crave. We catch glimpses of a closely-followed TV soap opera as we get to know a number of real-life Cubans who watch it in the form of Gladys (a tobacco worker), Silai (a beauty salon operator), Felix and Juana (a married man and his extra-marital girlfriend), Marino (a Casanova), and Vilma (the girl Marino left his wife for) as well as José, who repairs all the old Russian TV-sets found in the households of this Havana community. José has magic hands that manage to fit up the old sets with new tubes and pieces so that they function a little longer. They enjoy watching the escapades of the actors, but, unfortunately, nothing much changes in their own lives.

This documentary, like many of late, attests once again to the swaying and seductive music emanating from this corner of the world. You can't help but laugh and enjoy yourself along with the people you meet here, no matter how much you wish they found themselves in a better situation. They "learn their lessons" from soap operas (or, at least, see themselves reflected in them) and don't have energy for much else than watching television at the end of a hard day's work. Director Uli Gaulke manages to present us with a film that is a "real-life soap opera."

Have a look at the other IDFA 2000 reviews:

Wahlkämpfer (The Election Campaigners)
The Video Diary of Ricardo Lopez
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
AJAX - Daar Hoorden Zij Engelen Zingen (AJAX - Where They Heard The Angels Singing)
Os Carvoeiros (The Charcoal People)
11 and 12

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