Tags: Cuba | cuba | documentary | film | critics | suite habana

Cuba Documentary Reviews: Critics on 'Suite Habana'

Tuesday, 05 Apr 2016 04:34 PM

In this 2003 documentary, writer and director Fernando Perez follows the daily lives of 10 ordinary Cubans in the capital city of Havana.

“Suite Habana” opens at dawn in the city and documents the day of the participants using only the soundtrack music and the sounds of the streets.

The film was well received and won many awards at U.S. festivals and in Latin-American countries, but critics thought it had more style than substance.

As with some documentaries of Cuba, the language of the movie was Spanish but the dialogue was only incidental to the overall style of the filmmaker.

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Neil Genzlinger reviewed the documentary for The New York Times and believed that it may take two viewings for the piece to make full sense. He admired the quality of the camera shots but questionws the use of the participants and saw a lot of propaganda in the final production.

Overall, Genzlinger likes the documentary for its artistic side only and concludes: “Maybe that makes ‘Suite Habana’ benign propaganda, but its most compelling images linger nonetheless.”

The critic Joshua Land writing in the Village Voice was wholly unimpressed by the documentary. He found it tiresome and some of the shots unnecessary. To Land, the director has spent too much time trying to make an art house movie while losing focus on making an entertaining one.

Land didn't recommend the movie, writing: “It's all pleasant enough, but the pretty pictures, languid pacing, and endless stretches of mood music eventually combine to soporific effect.”

Ed Gonzalez at Slant Magazine thought "Suite Habana" was an atmospheric but realistic portrayal of the joy and pain of living in Cuba.

"Fernando Perez’s 'Suite Habana' ... is part of a new breed of trance doc where artifice often overwhelms content — except it is the first of these films whose style not only corresponds with its setting but also captures its essence. Perez evokes a day in the life of 10 Habaneros as a symphony," wrote Gonzalez.

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In this 2003 documentary, writer and director Fernando Perez follows the daily lives of 10 ordinary Cubans in the capital city of Havana. “Suite Habana” was well received and won many awards, but critics thought it had more style than substance.
cuba, documentary, film, critics, suite habana
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2016-34-05
Tuesday, 05 Apr 2016 04:34 PM
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