This one got me back on track with my Spanish-language films. Featuring good child actors and beautiful footage of Cuba, “Viva Cuba” is a simple story that is very engaging to watch.
Malu and Jorge are around ten years old, and best friends. When Malu’s mom gets a long-awaited opportunity to leave Cuba, the kids are heartbroken at the prospect of being separated. Out of desperation, they hatch a plan to travel the length of Cuba to find Malu’s estranged father and get him to prevent the move. Traveling by train, bus, ox-cart, and foot, they cover a gorgeous cross-section of Cuba, while their parents and the police search frantically.
“Viva Cuba” touches lightly on Cuban social and political issues, but the focus is mainly on the kids and how they sort through these differences. It’s a nice reminder that if we can manage not to blow the planet up, our kids may do some things better than we did. The film’s third star is Cuba itself. From the cities to the oceans to the forests, the country is featured beautifully. The movie is nothing to write to your abuela about, but it’s a sweet, little coming-of-age tale that is fun to watch.
3 stars out of 5