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La vida es silbar (1998)

Fernando Pérez, Cuba

Three different characters in a Havana, that always seems to be like today, must choose between clinging to their self-restricting beliefs, or getting rid of them to live more freely. Ballerina Mariana has recently promised God celibacy, if she gets the main role of "Giselle"; Social-worker Julia always faints after hearing a certain word, like other people do in the streets to different words; and percussionist Elpidio was abandoned by his mother named Cuba quite some time ago and has not yet gotten over the loss. Now he fells in love with an northern activist.

Duration
106 minutes
Language
OV Spanish
Subtitles
english, german, french
Video Quality
1080p
Available in
Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein
Fernando Pérez
Ultimos dias en La Habana (2016)
Fernando Pérez
Cuba
93′
Diego and Miguel are both in their mid-forties. They are living in a dilapidated apartment in central Havana without running water or any modern amenities. Miguel earns his money washing dishes in a privately run restaurant; he, his family and neighbours also care for Diego, who is bedridden on account of his HIV infection. While Diego tries to maintain his joie de vivre, Miguel becomes increasingly withdrawn. Only the two of them know about Miguel’s secret: he is planning to emigrate to the USA and is just waiting for his visa. When Diego’s condition deteriorates he is forced to go into hospital and leaves his room to his niece Yusi. When Miguel’s visa finally arrives it’s time for some surprising decisions - and not just for him. Writer, documentary filmmaker and director Fernando Pérez has based his screenplay on the lives of the inhabitants of a tenement building. The resulting film presents a vibrant kaleidoscope of emotions. Unfolding in tranquil images, this story of an unusual friendship also provides an insight into a culture in transition that requires constant flexibility and incredible optimism. A declaration of love to the Cuban capital and its inhabitants.
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Madagascar (1994)
Fernando Pérez
Cuba
48′
"I dream exactly what I live every day," a professor, bored with her mundane life, tells her therapist. But the visual evidence on screen at the start of "Madagascar" suggests that dreams are never that banal. Bicyclists crowd the street, riding to work in slow motion in a haunting, shadowy blue dawn. The 50-minute "Madagascar" has the resonance and eloquence of the best poetry, as it deftly turns an adolescent's search for identity into a metaphor for post-revolutionary Cuba. Laura is a professor at a shabby, stultifying college. Her daughter, Laurita, stops going to school, wishes to move to Madagascar and quickly races through several phases. One day, she looks like a heavy-metal fan, another like a bohemian who weeps at poetry and art. Slowly, she crosses the line from ordinary adolescent confusion to intense neurosis and beyond, finally becoming so obsessed with religion and good works that she brings 10 homeless children into the cramped house she shares with her mother and grandmother. The film's director, Fernando Perez, creates graceful scenes linked by the merest narrative thread. His compressed episodes make it clear that Laura and Laurita, pre- and post-revolutuonary women, share a desperate search for some purpose in life. When Laura looks wistfully at a photograph of herself in May 1969, it is a rare reference to her political dreams, yet Mr. Perez has created an extraordinary meditation on the lost promise of youth and revolution. (Caryn James, in The New York Times)
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