March 28, 2010

Movie Monday

Today for Movie Monday:

Today's Movie Monday is inspired. Yesterday, actor Andy Garcia staged a Human Rights Solidarity March for the victims of the Cuban dictatorial government, specifically: Sunday, internationally acclaimed actor Andy Garcia will join hundreds across the country in a symbolic march in solidarity with victims of repression in Cuba. In Los Angeles, the march will take place in Echo Park at 2:00pm following the culmination of a 12-hour fast in honor of the late Orlando Tamayo Zapata. Tamayo was an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience who died earlier this month after an 85-day hunger strike protesting the deplorable conditions in Cuban prisons.

Incredibly talented, Garcia was born in Cuba and the love of his native country is legendary. In 2005, he directed and starred in "The Lost City," what could be described as a love letter to his native country, and a warning to his current home. I remember when the movie came out in theaters (2005) and never making it to see it. I also remember that it was loudly scorned by critics and disappeared quickly from theaters.

So, Saturday I finally decided I wanted to watch it. The best one-word description I can come up with is: beautiful. This movie should have been nominated for all sorts of awards - acting, costuming, soundtrack, cinematography. It's blatantly political that it was so snubbed.

The story is simple: Andy Garcia and his two brothers (one being *sigh*Nestor Carbonell from LOST!!) are adults in 1958 Cuba. Cuba is in the grip of an evil "President" who acts more like a tyrant: President Batista. All agree he needs to be removed from office. Garcia and his father begin trying to find a Constitutional method of unseating him. The other two brothers believe that violent revolution is the answer; however, Carbonell only wants to unseat Batista in order to hold a new election. The third brother runs away from his wife and family and joins Castro's and Che's guerrilla forces in the jungles.

Obviously, we know how the larger story ends. Constitutional methods are usurped, Carbonell's efforts are unsuccessful and Castro comes in masquerading as a savior of the poor, downtrodden masses. However, Garcia shows what Steven Soderbergh, Michael Moore, and every other mogul in Hollywood and the MSM won't: that they merely replaced a tyrant with a tyrannical, sadistic dictator - namely, Fidel Castro. Once Castro takes over, the execution of the loosely-defined political opponents is routine. The restoration of democracy becomes more and more a distant dream. Garcia argues with a character supporting Castro, "What about democracy?" The character replies, "Well, first we have to make our reforms. Then we will restore democracy." Of course, now, 50 years later....

There's not just a mourning for Cuba's freedom, there's also an implicit warning for America: never mistake "revolution" with "rebellion." Unless the Constitutional process is upheld, you are always a hair's breadth away from losing it.

The length is epic: two and a half hours! I had it playing with the idea I'd do "other things" while it was on - but I couldn't! I couldn't stop watching! That's not to say the time flew by, but the characters are so compelling and sympathetic, you don't lose interest. Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman are great supporting characters, and Garcia's love affair with his (widowed) sister-in-law is deep and real.

I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. It's full of emotion and heart. If you're interested, you can read a more thorough, professional review from someone who lived it here.


  1. Ohhhhh, this looks good!! :)

  2. I've never heard of this movie! It looks and sounds really good! I'm gonna have to netflix it for sure!


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