Predictably patchy portmanteau pic "7 Days in Havana" sutures together seven flimsy-to-outright bad shorts set across a week in Havana, to forgettable effect.

Predictably patchy portmanteau pic “7 Days in Havana” sutures together seven flimsy-to-outright bad shorts set across a week in Havana, to forgettable effect. Given that part of the production coin came from rum-maker Havana Club and advertising outfit M&C Saatchi, it’s no surprise the pic plays like a product-placement exercise more suited to a corporate website than to the cinema. Events eager to snag guests are likely to bite, but despite its name helmers, the pic will stay embargoed within the fest circuit.

Benicio del Toro’s daft opener finds Josh Hutcherson’s dim tourist hooking up with a transvestite. Pablo Trapero’s whatever segment has Emir Kusturica, as himself, befriending chauffeur/musician Alexander Abreu. Julio Medem’s embarrassing telenovela-like mini-meller features a Daniel Bruehl/Melvis Estevez/Leo Benitez love triangle. Elia Suleiman’s episode, in some ways the best, shows the helmer himself feeling lost in translation. Gaspar Noe’s take on a voodoo exorcism at least has style, while Juan Carlos Tabio’s comedy drama is visually flat. Laurent Cantet’s community comedy is cute but inconsequential. Vague coherence is created by all segs being similarly luridly colored and technically cheap-looking; even the music, an expected strong suit, underwhelms.

7 Days in Havana

France-Spain-Cuba

Production

A Rezo Films (in France) release of a Full House, Morena Films presentation in collaboration with Havana Club Intl. in association with Backup Films, Sofica Coficup, Palatine Etoile 8 & 9, M&C Saatchi Gad, Chaocorp Distribution, with the collaboration of Icaa and the participation of Canal Plus. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Music, Xavi Turull, Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa; production designer, Juan Pedro de Gaspar. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 24, 2012. Running time: 129 MIN.

Crew

El Yuma Produced by Alvaro Longoria. Executive producer, Laura Bickford. Directed by Benicio Del Toro. Screenplay, Leonardo Padura. Camera (color, HD), Daniel Aranyo; editor, Rich Fox. With: Josh Hutcherson, Vladimir Cruz. (Spanish, English dialogue)
Jam Session Produced by Gael Nouaille. Directed by Pablo Trapero. Screenplay, Alejandro Fadel, Martin Mauregui, Santiago Mitre, Trapero. Camera (color, HD), Diego Dussuel; editor, Santiago Esteves, Trapero. With: Emir Kusturica, Alexander Abreu. (Spanish, Serbian dialogue)
Cecilia's Temptation Produced by Alvaro Longoria. Directed, edited by Julio Medem. Screenplay, Leonardo Padura, Medem. Camera (color, HD), Daniel Aranyo. With: Daniel Bruehl, Melvis Estevez, Leo Benitez.
Diary of a Beginner Produced by Laurent Baudens, Gael Nouaille. Directed, written by Elia Suleiman. Camera (color, HD), Daniel Aranyo; editor, Veronique Lange. With: Elia Suleiman. (Spanish, Arabic dialogue)
Ritual Produced by Laurent Baudens. Directed, written by Gaspar Noe. Camera (color, HD), Noe; editors, Olivier Thery, Lapiney, Noe. With: Cristela De La Caridad Herrera, Othello Rensoli.
Dulce Amargo Produced by Alvaro Longoria. Directed by Juan Carlos Tabio. Screenplay, Leonardo Padura. Camera (color, HD), Daniel Aranyo; editor, Berta Frias. With: Mirtha Ibarra, Jorge Perugorria, Estevez.
The Fountain Produced by Didar Domehri. Directed, written by Laurent Cantet. Camera (color, HD), Diego Dussuel; editor, Alexandro Rodriguez. With: Nathalia Amore, Othello Rensoli.

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