Madre Cuba

Cuba completists rep the main audience for glacially-paced "documentary" in which a silent femme photographer spends 24 hours walking around contempo Havana before jumping off a cliff. Scripted like a feature, pic was actually programmed in the non-fiction section at the Karlovy Vary fest. Subsequent opportunities limited to niche ancillary.

With:
With: Cirenaica Moreira.

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.

Madre Cuba

Spain

Production: A Kaplan presentation and production, in association with Catalan TV, ICIC. (International sales: Indisa, Barce-lona.) Produced by Josep L. Garcia, Alberto del Val. Directed, written by Salomon Shang.

Crew: Camera (color), Santiago Yanes; editor, Patricia Roda; music, Markland's Tune. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (documentary competition), July 8, 2004. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Cirenaica Moreira.

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