The Sugar Curtain

Filmmaker Camila Guzman Urzua describes the discontent and the sad, impoverishment of Cuba today in her first feature-length docu, "The Sugar Curtain." With little new to reveal, Guzman Urzua uses the mirror of memory to underscore her personal sense of a lost paradise. These sober, realistic reflections should translate well to fest and small screen exposure.

Returning to Havana where she grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, Chilean-born filmmaker Camila Guzman Urzua describes the discontent and the sad, impoverishment of Cuba today in her first feature-length docu, “The Sugar Curtain.” The even-handed film is sympathetic to the Cuban revolution in its initial stages, then slowly swings around to reveal the “skeleton of a dream” that the society has become. With little new to reveal, Guzman Urzua uses the mirror of memory to underscore her personal sense of a lost paradise. Those on both sides of the great Cuba divide should find food for thought in these sober, realistic reflections, which will translate well to fest and small screen exposure.

Guzman Urzua has picked up a straightforward, hand-held documentary style from her father Patricio Guzman, who left Chile for Cuba with his family when Salvador Allende’s government fell. Camila, then 2, grew up in the Cuban school system. Tracking down those few of her childhood friends who still live in Havana, she records their disillusionment over the changes there since the fall of the U.S.S.R., poignantly mixed with their great love for their country.

The Sugar Curtain

France - Spain

Production: A Luz Film/Paraiso Production Diffusion production. (International sales: Films Transit Intl., Montreal; Wide Management, Paris.) Produced by Camila Guzman Urzua. Executive producer, Nathalie Trafford. Directed, written by Camila Guzman Urzua.

Crew: Camera (color, DV Betacam), Guzman Urzua; editors, Claudio Martinez, Guzman Urzua; music, Omar Sosa. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Latin Horizons), Sept. 26, 2006. (Also in Toronto Film Festival -- Real to Reel.) Original title: El Telon de Azucar. Running time: 80 MIN.

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