Affinities / Rebeca Monzo

Menu from 1963. Text: INRA National Park, Zapata Peninsula, Cafeteria De La Boca, Cook's Recommendations

The Cuban Film, Affinidades (Affinities), by Jorge Perogurría and Vladimir Cruz, awakened my interest, which is why I decided to to rent it for this weekend, because I still was able to remember the two of them in Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate).

For me, I am not a critic of movies nor much else, although as a movie fan, it was like watching a tourist postcard, printed and flat.

All of the action takes place in the beautiful setting of Cienaga de Zapata (it just suffers from this). A quartet composed of two Cuban men, one ordinary technician and another high-ranking official, a Cuban women, wife or girlfriend of the first, and a Spanish investor, who apparently had an intimate and business relationship with the official of Aguas Habana.

As soon as they arrive in a small boat that makes this journey towards the Tesoro Lagoon, where a touristy area is found, the crossed looks start, a childish omen of what is to come.

From the disguised waiter, with extreme imposed kindness, who constantly winks at the official, the use of curse words out of context, the excessive fervor of the investor (the only great acting), played by the Spanish actress Cuca Esribano, up to the incomprehensible and excessive innocence that fades away like magic, of the wife, woman, or girlfriend of the ordinary technician, who throws her into the ring of the boss’s appetites to ensure his job, before the impending layoffs which will take affect in the workplace.

The night of the Taíno Show, in the cabaret restaurant in the tourist center, lacks authenticity (even though it is valid in the film) with the presence, somewhat anachronistic, of Omara Portuondo singing a bland song, until the sexual apotheosis, a Pas de Quatre type, that doesn’t add anything to the film, until the final exit by car along an infinite causeway, all gives the sensation that he came from nothing and left with nothing.

The only contribution for our eyes was the marvelous natural but mutilated scenery of a marsh without crocodiles or exotic birds.

If you would like to lose an hour and thirty minutes, which is about how long this film lasts, without seeing anything interesting, then I recommend it!

Translated by: BW

August 7 2011