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Review: ‘Una Noche’

Life Imitates Art With New Cuban Film

Above: Three friends try to cross 90 miles of ocean to get to America in "Una Noche."

Aired 8/30/13 on KPBS News.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando review the new Cuban film, "Una Noche."

Transcript

Art imitates life with the Cuban film “Una Noche” (opening August 30 for one week only at The Digital Gym Cinema). Last year two of its actors defected to the U.S. en route to the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film's storyline involves three friends who similarly try to leave the island.

London-born filmmaker Lucy Molloy fell in love with Cuba when she visited Havana ten years ago. She also became obsessed with a story a boy told her about his friends who tried to flee Cuba on a raft.

In the press notes she says: "People leave Cuba on homemade rafts, risking everything on a daily basis. Everybody in Cuba knows someone who has gone or attempted to; mothers have left their children, husbands their wives. Some make it, but many disappear or wash up back further down the shore, dead or alive. It is devastating. "Una Noche" was inspired by the feeling of being stifled and stuck, by the desire to get out, to get away and realize a dream, to risk everything for love."

What intensifies this feeling for Cubans is that the U.S. and all it promises feels close enough to touch. That inspires people to try by any means available to cross that 90 mile strip of ocean.

Credit: IFC

Lucy Molloy directing "Una Noche."

Molloy’s approach is very humanistic. Her movie is never political and her characters seem far removed from the Communist revolution of a half century ago. This new generation is less motivated by politics than by a youthful desire to find something better.

Molloy’s film is set within a single 24-hour period and manages to be both tragic and hopeful. Her untrained actors anchor the film with achingly real performances. Molloy captures the Cuban spirit of energy, resiliency, resourcefulness, and passion. She does an impressive job of blending an intimate story of friends with a meticulously observed portrait of Havana.

“Una Noche” is Molloy’s first feature but it marks her as a talent to watch.

Companion viewing: "Juan of the Dead," "Sin Nombre," "El Norte,"

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