August 11, 2006

Touching Story About Childhood Friendship

While Essentially a Childhood Adventure Movie, VIVA CUBA Also Touches On Subjects of Emigration and Cuban Bureaucracy

The Media Arts Center San Diego is proud to present VIVA CUBA an audience favorite at the 2006 San Diego Latino Film Festival, for the August installment of Cinema en tu Idioma. This adventure about a childhood friendship threatened by parents of different backgrounds will enjoy a one-week exclusive run at UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center August 18 - 24.

Viva Cuba is a wonderful, fresh film for all ages. It touches upon many of Cuba’s contentious issues in a frank and honest manner. This is a nation in flux and, while his approach is skilled and affectionate, director Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti does not shy away from asking difficult questions.  Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti’s Nothing More was an irreverent, playful film about the burden of Cuban bureaucracy, employing light-hearted animation to treat heavy topics like migration and segregation. For his follow-up feature, Viva Cuba, Cremata Malberti again tackles localized Cuban problems, this time from the literal point of view of the country’s children. He lowers the camera to the eye level of the film’s protagonists, the darling Malú (Malú Tarrau Broche) and Jorgito (Jorgito Miló Ávila). 

In a tale akin to “Romeo and Juliet,” the friendship between two children is threatened by their parents’ differences. Malú is from an upper-class family and her single mother (Larisa Vega Alamar) does not want her to play with Jorgito, as she thinks his background coarse and commonplace. Jorgito’s mother (Luisa María Jiménez Rodríguez), a poor socialist proud of her family’s social standing, places similar restrictions on her son. What neither woman recognizes is the immense strength of the bond between Malú and Jorgito. When the children learn that Malú’s mother is planning to leave Cuba, they decide to travel to the other side of the island to find Malú’s father and persuade him against signing the forms that would allow it.

Viva Cuba explores emigration and the effects it can have on children who have to leave friends and extended families behind. Often youngsters are uprooted without being consulted and then must contend with their new surroundings.

In a poignant moment, Malú and Jorgito discuss when they might reunite. The viewer knows they are unlikely to ever see each other again, unless Malú’s mother finds a legal way to leave the country and can therefore be granted re-entry. The best they can hope for is to forget one another as their lives change and they face new pleasures and challenges.

Cinema en tu Idioma is Media Art Center San Diego’s monthly screening program which presents a one-week run of a hit Spanish-language film from Latin America or Spain. Tickets are available at the UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center box office prior to each screening for $8.50 General Admission and $6.50 Students, Seniors and “Aficionado del Cine Latino” Members. For additional information on VIVA CUBA and Cinema en tu Idioma, please visit www.sdlatinofilm.com or call 619-230-1938 

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