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April 2, 2007 | by  | in Film |
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Habana Blues

Set in Cuba, Habana Blues follows the story of Ruy, a father of two, whose relationship with his wife is suffering due to his music commitments, and Tito, who can’t wait to get out of his rum-drinking, cigar smoking grandmother’s house and leave Cuba. The plot describes them riding around Havana in a ‘52 Chevy trying to make it as big-time musicians. When a group of Spanish producers comes to town and takes an interest in their band, their friendship is tested as the terms of the contract say they can never return to Cuba and must publicly speak against their country.

The film shows the hardships many people face when trying to leave Cuba. Although the themes aren’t anything new – success vs. integrity, fame and fortune vs. family and culture, Zambrano manages to tell the story as if it were fresh off the editing room floor. The music, the thing which could end up making or breaking the film (as more than a third of the film contains music sequences), is fantastically done. The acting isn’t bad, plus the range and development of the characters makes the film more than just a band movie. Although the start of the film was a little weak and the end a little cheesy, I found myself wanting everything to work out for these two jokers.

If I had but one complaint about this film it would be that they didn’t take advantage of the setting. When watching a film set in the Caribbean, I can’t say I didn’t expect to see something a bit more picturesque than theatre halls and bars. That isn’t to say that the interiors weren’t done well, just that it was a shame to see the landscapes of Havana in only a handful of scenes.

BENITO ZAMBRANO

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