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DVD Review: “The Lost City” (2006)

5 November 2009

Aurora and Fico in "The Lost City"

Have you ever sat at your grandfather’s table, listening to old stories and tall tales, and realized that he was part of some Big Thing that is now gone, and that when he is gone, we will have become poorer without realizing it?  Or, have you ever appreciated an artist more, once they have passed away? 

This is the sense that permeates Andy Garcia’s “The Lost City.”  The movie itself is a labor of love by Garcia, and a self-styled “love letter to Cuba,” by and for Cubans who left Cuba after Castro’s taking over Batista’s fallen regime in 1959.  It tells the story of the Big Thing that is now gone, and the little things that endure, though diminished.  It tells the stories of countless people who had fled, articulated with Cuban culture – music and dance in particular and (if you’re watching carefully) Cuban wit

It doesn’t pull any punches, either.  It paints Batista’s regime, warts and all, as it ought;  and does the same with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.  It’s spooky to watch Batista’s goon squads run amok, while he congratulates himself for not having to sign any death warrants;  Later, it’s spooky to watch the new government officials dress the same, and sport the same ugly beards, incompetently creating the new government.  We get the sense that it might have been better for everyone to simply wait for Batista to leave office. 

It does have some grisly violence in it, but it’s entirely appropriate and not at all gratuitous.  As a matter of fact, the violence alone merited its R-rating.  Parents should watch it with their kids, if their kids watch it. 

Despite the long run time (138 min), I found I had to watch all of the DVD’s special features, immediately after I watched the movie.  I was unable to tear myself away from the tube as much (if not more) watching the features as I was with the movie itself. 

To recap:  Old stories, Cuban wit, Cuban culture, that trashes Batista, Castro, and the Che-meister, with a story that has romance and tragedy. 

It’s fiction;  it’s history. 

It’s a love letter. 

to Cuba.   

– Elder

Categories: Movie Reviews
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