Beloved (3 stars)


(12A) 100min (Network DVD retail)


After her wealthy slave-trading father’s death, Amada (Eslinda Núñez) wiles away her time on his estate, living with her blind mother and her unfaithful husband. Clearly she wants and deserves more from life, and so when she meets up with a cousin Marcial (César Évora) from her past sparks fly.

Cuban filmmaker Humberto Solás does his best to inject into this predictable love story as much political passion as emotional yearning, but the soft-focus images lend themselves more to the latter than the former. Certainly, the cousin is a revolutionary journalist, but his beliefs are peripheral while Amada’s feelings are central. Set in 1914, the film looks at the contrast between the complacent yet collapsing wealth of a generation, and how it was only a matter of time (even if it would take 45 years) before the revolution would come. Like most of the finest Cuban films the personal and the political are intertwined; but unlike the best of Cuban cinema nothing fresh comes out of this combination: it ends up offering diluted politics and predictable emotions. No extras.

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