Cuban films, from politics to dance

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 24, 2011 - 2:34 PM

The second annual Cuban Film Festival has arrived.

The Minnesota Cuba Committee's second annual Cuban Film Festival presents winners from the 2010 Latin American Film Festival in Havana. While the films are notably short on criticism of the Castro regime, they offer a rare glimpse at a nation that's very near yet dauntingly distant. Screenings are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Anthony Main Theatre. All films are subtitled in English.

"Lisanka" (March 3) is a comic romantic triangle set during the Cuban missile crisis, with a new Russian arrival chasing the avidly sought-after Lisanka, the prettiest girl on the island.

California filmmaker Saul Landau's documentary "Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up" (March 10) uses interviews and archival footage to tell the story of the fruitless 40-year U.S. campaign to undermine Fidel Castro.

The tone shifts to fervid melodrama in "Fallen Gods" (March 17), a tragic romance set in the subculture of Havana pimps, prostitutes and transvestites. The film is a modern-day retelling of the legend of Alberto Yarini, the most famous Cuban pimp at the turn of the 20th century, who now is regarded as a symbol of national pride. With its overheated music-video visuals, it's history recast as a steamy bodice-ripper.

"Pages From Mauricio's Diary" (March 24) examines Cuba's situation as a 60-year-old examines episodes of his life as if they were chapters in a memoir.

On March 31 it's "Van Van Fever," a feature-length doc about Cuba's most popular dance orchestra. Wear your dancing shoes; there's a closing reception with live music from Cubania at Vic's restaurant, adjacent to the theater.

Each film features post-screening discussions facilitated by local artists and college faculty. $7, $20 for a four-film pass; $30 for a six-film pass. Tickets sold at the door. 763-228-2899, or www.minnesotacubacommittee.org.

Colin Covert • 612-673-7186

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