The Sugar Curtain (El Telon de azucar) (2007)
Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 11
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 2
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Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0
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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 948
Documentarist Camila Guzmán Urzúa - the daughter of director Patricio Guzmán - came of age in Cuba during the 70s and 80s - a period not long after the 1959 Castro revolution. Historians often refer to this period as the country's 'Golden Years' - a phrase reflected by Urzúa's experience, for she, her family, and her friends indeed grew up in unbridled luxury and happiness. Now, in 2005 - fifteen years after emigrating off of the island - Urzúa returns to her native Cuban soil, camera in hand,
Jul 25, 2007 Wide
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Steeped in a profound melancholy, disillusionment and deep love of country, The Sugar Curtain is a wistful ode to a Cuba that, like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, existed only in the imagination.
The filmmaker's bittersweet reflections on her own former idealism form the philosophical heart of the film, which is less judgmental than simply sorrowful in its nostalgia for a lost society.
Although the film fails to reveal anything new about the country's current crisis or the Cuban diaspora, it's a bittersweet tribute to what could have been.
The Sugar Curtain is a pensive valentine to literacy programs and childhood idealism left in the ashes of broken families and an economically bifurcated society.
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.
Unfortunately, the material is largely inaccessible to the uninformed viewer, or even those who don't know the filmmaker personally.
For those who've never seen Cuba up close, The Sugar Curtain offers an astonishing glimpse of the culture, one that's devoid of both the glamor and the manipulations of mainstream media.
Urzua's unsentimental story of shattered idealism is specific to Cuba, but anyone whose path to adulthood was paved with disillusionment -- whether they were betrayed by faith, family or institutions -- will understand her melancholy nostalgia.
After 40 minutes of schoolgirl and schoolboy reminiscences, and the filmmaker's attempts to filter history through nostalgia, the documentary is about as appealing as a home movie.
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