Day of the Flowers
Likeable but uneven drama about two Scottish sisters in Cuba
This light drama about family uniquely connects Glasgow and Cuba through its story of chalk and cheese sisters Rosa (Eva Birthistle) and Ailie (Charity Wakefield), the former an anti-capitalist activist, the latter a materialistic party girl, who steal their father’s ashes from their stepmother in an attempt to return them to the site of his supposed revolutionary heyday in Trinidad. Of course, things start to go wrong from the moment they hit the ground in Havana, and having attracted the attentions of sleazy local boy Ernesto (Christopher Simpson) and grounded tour guide Tomas (Carlos Acosta), Rosa soon finds her hastily sketched-out plans going awry.
Day of the Flowers, British director John Roberts’ first feature film in over a decade, is at its best when focusing on the gradual erosion of Rosa’s headstrong idealism: we see this character who has looked at life in simple, and arguably selfish, terms begin to see that reality is much more complicated and the world doesn’t revolve around her. Birthistle, best known from Ken Loach’s Ae Fond Kiss… is certainly the standout performer, making Rosa believable even in her most irrational moments, conveying the fierce stubbornness in Rosa’s bones.
But not everything in the script, written by British TV writer Eirene Houston, has such consistency. The plot depends on too many illogical coincidences (why does no-one have a mobile phone?) and becomes very contrived in the final stages as the filmmakers force in a bit of action to belatedly wake up the leisurely narrative. But it’s a likeable film, if not a particularly riveting one, easily enjoyed and just as easily forgotten.
Showing at Edinburgh International Film Festival Mon 25 Jun and Wed 27 Jun.