Period Romantic Epic. A wealthy family in the midst of the Castro Communist revolution of 1958 Cuba. And Andy Garcia, the filmmaker, shows the truth of Communism. Different sons of the family go different ways when Revolution foments in the Batista regime. Andy and his father and uncle believe in democracy, peaceful justice. Another brother joins the revolution and we see the cruelty and evil of it as the “government” takes over private property in the name of “the people” and shuts down Andy’s night club and free expression. It’s a powerful juxtaposition of two worldviews one free and the other cruelty in the name of the people. Che Guevera is portrayed accurately as a murderous slimeball henchman of Castro, spouting the true Communist ideal, “the ends justifies the means.”
Anyway, a wonderfully tragic and heart ripping love story occurs between Andy and his brother’s widow, who fall in love with each other. But unfortunately, the widow falls for the revolution and chooses it over fleeing to America with Andy because it makes her feel good to be a part of something bigger than herself, a cause. But there is nothing bigger than us and our love, Andy tells her. Well, this was not quite accurate because Andy does in fact believe in freedom more than love because he moves to America without her, even though they both love each other deeply. This was a very powerful powerful truth that there is something higher than human love, but it ain’t the collective alone, it’s FREEDOM. I would have liked to hear more of this, but Andy’s actions show it clear enough. Freedom is more valuable than even love. In fact, without freedom you cannot have true love. To see this was very unusual because most movies place the love of two people to be the highest value that trivializes beliefs and worldviews. But the fact is that freedom and control, democracy and communism, democracy and revolution cannot coexist. One must die for the other to live. And that is expressed brilliantly in the story. Thank you Mr. Garcia for a story of truth, beauty, freedom, love and higher causes that rings deeply true to the core.