Sergio Navarretta’s “The Cuban” pulls collectively music, romance, loss, and reminiscence into an emotional story that spans cultures and generations. One factor connects all of them: Cuban music. Within the film, a poster of legendary Cuban musician Benny Moré catches the eye of Mina Ayoub (Ana Golja) whereas working as a caretaker in a nursing residence. Curious in regards to the resident, Luis Garcia (Louis Gossett Jr.), who has the poster on his wall, she tries to attach with the stoic dementia affected person. She tells him about how her grandfather used to play his music, hums Moré’s tunes, and ultimately, performs considered one of his data. Her kindness awakens Luis from his stupor, and his reminiscences transport him to the times when males wore dapper fits and ladies danced in fluffy skirts and elbow-high gloves in Cuba’s humidity. Luis calls out to somebody named Elena, however Mina is the one one within the room. Quickly, Mina’s unorthodox care lands her in hassle, however she presses on to resolve the ever deepening thriller of who Luis as soon as was and has since been misplaced to time.
Alessandra Piccione’s screenplay tells a narrative that is easy but relatable for a lot of, particularly these of us who’ve misplaced relations and historical past to the ravishes of sicknesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The film doubles as a sort of tribute to those that have but to share their previous and a reminder for youthful generations to not wait till it’s too late to ask somebody about their life’s story. In between her efforts to uncover Luis’ previous by means of Cuban music and meals, Mina clashes along with her strict aunt (Shohreh Aghdashloo), who gave up her profession to flee her nation and has now positioned her deferred desires of a medical profession onto her niece. Their relationship presents one other traditional story, considered one of immigrant households placing excessive expectations on the subsequent era solely to search out battle in generational and cultural variations. This manifests most prominently when Mina falls for a non-Muslim TA at her faculty, Kris (Giacomo Gianniotti), and he turns into her confederate in serving to Luis reconnect along with his previous.
There are moments when Piccione’s script feels too predictable, and like Navaretta’s course and Celiana Cárdenas’ cinematography, comes throughout as heavy-handed. Mina’s impending reckoning along with her bosses is so telegraphed, its conclusion feeling extra like a formality. The movie takes its time settling the viewers in, taking us first by means of a lightweight tour of Havana in watercolor work after which by means of the glum corridors of a nursing residence. By “glum,” I imply suppose up the bleakest blue-grey filter and apply it to each nursing residence scene so strongly that it nearly appears to be like like a day-for-night sequence, and that’s the search for most of “The Cuban.” When the movie shifts into Luis’ fond reminiscences, the scenes are vivid and colourful, showing much more majestic when in comparison with the drab pall over a lot of the film, the one we spend most of our time watching. The change is so jarring, that it nearly seems like one other film fully.
True to its title, “The Cuban” makes use of lots of the island’s acquainted requirements, like “Guantanamera” and “El Cañonero.” Cuban jazz pianist Hilario Durán, whose stints with jazz greats Chucho Valdes, Dizzy Gillespie, and Arturo Sandoval share a resemblance with Luis’ profession within the movie, rounds the soundtrack with authentic compositions and covers, smoothing over the transitions between the previous and the current and bringing vigorous preparations of those songs to a brand new viewers. Nonetheless, for a film in regards to the therapeutic energy of music, some moments do really feel uncomfortable, like when the viewers first meets Mina to the sound of Center Jap-influenced strings, marking her distinction from the Cuban man and his music with a daring music change.
Except for a number of technical quibbles, “The Cuban” is a reasonably nice cross-generational, cross-cultural drama. Whereas Golja appears a little bit uncertain of her footing in some scenes, actors like Gossett Jr. and Aghdashloo maintain her grounded and away from overacting. To his immense credit score, Gossett Jr. provides a shocking efficiency for an 84-year-old, getting up and gracefully dancing a number of salsa steps solely to slink again to his chair exhausted, the momentary gentle in his eyes extinguished and forsaking solely a vacant stare. That second is nearly too uncanny to observe, however it speaks to his still-sturdy expertise many people noticed in his current look on the TV present “Watchmen.” His character doesn’t simply give Mina a purpose to struggle for what she believes in; Luis nonetheless has some struggle in him, too. “The Cuban” provides him yet another journey down reminiscence lane to get pleasure from earlier than it’s gone for good.
Now taking part in in choose theaters.