Cuba completists rep the main audience for “Madre Cuba,” a glacially-paced “documentary” in which a silent femme photographer spends 24 hours walking around contempo Havana before jumping off a cliff. Despite being scripted like a feature, pic has a docu feel and was actually programmed in the non-fiction competish section at the Karlovy Vary fest; subsequent opportunities are limited to niche ancillary.
Appearing to be around 30, protag is slow to rise in the morning as she prepares a real-time breakfast. Sequence sets tempo for remainder of “action,” as she brushes her teeth, hangs her laundry, waits for a bus and walks in the country before throwing herself into the sea. Unlike Chantal Akerman’s similarly-conceived landmark 1976 work “Jeanne Dielman,” proceedings prompt more apathy than tension. Writer-director Salomon Shang succeeds in illuminating the wretched living conditions along her route, though auds will need the press kit to learn the woman is depressed over a mysterious separation from her son (later, a child’s photo is superimposed over her floating body). Tech credits are capable, with the mournful, apprehensive score a plus.