The Sugar Curtain (El Telon de azucar)

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Average Rating: 3.3/5

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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, to shoot the 'homecoming' documentary El Télon de Azucar (AKA The Sugar Curtain, 2006). The contrasts between Urzúa's recollections and the reality of contemporary Cuba form the bulk of the documentary, as images confront the director (and audience) of a country all but completely suffocated under the weight of impoverishment. As the film proceeds, Guzman sets about locating her childhood friends who still reside in Havana, and together, they convey a sense of patriotism, co-mingled, bittersweetly, with sadness at the country's decline. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for The Sugar Curtain (El Telon de azucar)

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (6)

  • 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.

    Jan 30, 2009 | Rating: 3/4
  • 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.

    Aug 15, 2007
  • 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.

    Jul 26, 2007 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…

    Raven Snook

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jul 25, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • Guzmán Urzúa understands that to be Cuban is to be conflicted.

    Jul 24, 2007
  • 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.

    Oct 14, 2006

    Deborah Young

    Top Critic

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