Tales from an eternal gypsy who believes anything can happen

VIFF Review: Una Noche

In a time of nervous desperation in Havana, Raul dreams of leaving for Miami. When accused of assault, his only option is to flee Cuba. He convinces his best friend, Elio, to abandon everything and help him reach his destiny, 90 miles across the Atlantic. Elio’s commitment is tested when he is torn between protecting his sister and his own desire to get out. On this one night, full of hope and fraught with tensions, they face the biggest challenge of their lives.

I found it frustrating how they portrayed the Cuban people in this film. There were far too many unnecessary sex scenes and in some cases, the people were made to look like they lived like animals. I spent time in Havana a few years ago and my impression was that the people had much more dignity than Una Noche suggests. However it’s not often easy to tell what day-to-day life looks like from the perspective of a tourist, no matter how savvy a traveler you may be. This left me wondering how authentic the story line really was.

I did love the beautiful narrative throughout the film, from the perspective of Lila (Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre), a sister determined to uncover her brothers plans. There was a few twists that shocked the audience and the suspense around their voyage to Miami definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. I can’t say that I found the film enjoyable, but it does offer a sobering reminder of the struggles the Cuban people still face today.

Una Noche screens again October 7 and 10 at Empire Granville 7. Visit www.viff.org for tickets.

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