Thursday, August 10, 2006

¡Cuba Libre!


I love Tomás Milián. This is no secret. When I write, I almost never write parts with an actor in mind. Not, mind you, that I don't fantasy cast things. Just that most parts are the character. The most obvious exception I can think of is in "The Hunt", the feature script from which I excerpted the script for Lakeside. That story is rather sweeping in many ways, but many key characters are drawn together in the time and place involved by a Cuban professor that I based almost completely from the charmingly cocky presence of Tomás Milián on various DVD interviews.

So, it was obvious Tuesday that I'd have to rent Andy Garcia's The Lost City, whether I'd been especially interested in the subject or not. It happens that I was interested. The movie was ripped apart by critics, but I can't understand why. It's exactly the kind of movie I'd expect to be problematic for general audiences but should have pleased intellectual types who could appreciate the measured pace and the way the story is told in tandem with the music that sets its place.

Andy Garcia stars as a nightclub owner and eldest of three brothers in a family eventually torn apart by the revolution. Tomás Milián is the father, a professor, as in my script, for what that's worth, and is very good in an uncharacteristically restrained role. It was an intriguing and surprisingly balanced look at the various sides of the revolution, coming down only firmly on the side of loving Cuba. Although I can't say I've ever seen a less sympathetic portrayal of Che Guevara.

I didn't, unfortunately, think about how long it would be or how hypnotic its beauty would be, so I ended up not getting nearly enough sleep and can't say I've recovered from that even today.

It's not I'll movie I recommend to everyone. It's a movie that sees itself in poetic terms and if you're one of those people for whom that very phrase reeks of pretention and boredom, this is probably not going to be your thing.

I am glad I saw it, though. It was strangely beautiful and is keeping me thinking of it in the days since.

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