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Guantanamera Review

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When a jobsworth undertaker and his wife Gina (Ibarra) take his dead aunt from Guantanamo to Havana using his 'special system', it becomes a farce. Gina bumps into a former pupil (Perugorria), now a trucker, who still has a crush on her. Gina realises he has a woman in every village, but he's still infinitely more interesting than her starchy spouse.

★★★★★

Cuban director Alea's last film before his death is in a similar vein to 1993's Strawberry And Chocolate - a subtle but still biting dig at the absurdities of day-to-day life in his native country.

Alea uses the bleak landscapes to etch a road movie brimming with grim farce and devilishly black ironic humour. Ibarra stylishly conveys the dignity of a grieving niece alongside the lustings of a downtrodden housewife. Her husband represents a repressed acceptance of their country's egalitarianism while the trucker's attitude to anything in a skirt is as decadent as the values he espouses.

Oh, and the title derives from the well known Latino song and means "girl from Guantanamo".

While the obscure humour takes time to weave its magic, this is a film to be cherished for its ingenious plot and its sheer mischievousness.

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