Humberto Fontova: Movie Critics Aghast at Andy Garcia's 'The Lost City' for telling the truth





Andy Garcia blew it big-time with his movie "The Lost City." He blew it with the mainstream critics, that is. Almost unanimously, they're ripping a movie 16 years in the making. In this engaging drama of a middle-class Cuban family crumbling during free Havana's last days, which he both directs and stars in, Garcia insisted on depicting some historical truth about Cuba – a grotesque and unforgivable blunder in his industry. He's now paying the price.

Earlier, many film festivals refused to screen it. Now many Latin American countries refuse to show it. The film's offenses are many and varied. Most unforgivable of all, Che Guevara is shown killing people in cold blood. Who ever heard of such nonsense? And just where does this uppity Andy Garcia get the effrontery to portray such things? The man obviously doesn't know his place.

And just where did Garcia get this preposterous notion of pre-Castro Cuba as a relatively prosperous but politically troubled place, they ask. All the Cubans he portrays seem middle class. Where in his movie is the tsunami of stooped and starving peasants that carried Fidel and Che into Havana on its crest, they ask. Where are all those diseased and illiterate laborers and peasants my professors, Dan Rather, CNN and Oliver Stone told me about, ask the critics.

Garcia – that cinematic bomb-thrower – has seriously jolted the mainstream media's fantasies and hallucinations of pre-Castro Cuba, of Che, of Fidel, and of Cubans in general. In consequence, the critics are unnerved and disoriented. Their annoyance and scorn are spewing forth in review after review.

Garcia blew it. If only his characters had spoken with accents like John Belushi's as a "Saturday Night Live" killer bee! If only they'd dressed like The Three Amigos! If only they'd behaved like Cheech and Chong! If only they'd mimicked the mannerisms and gait of Freddie Prinze in "Chico and the Man"! If only the women had piled a roadside fruit stand on their head like Carmen Miranda in "Road to Rio"! If only the cast had looked like the little guy who handles my luggage when I visit Cancun! Or the guys who do my lawn! Everybody knows that's what Hispanics look like!

If only masses of Cubans had been shown toiling in salt mines like Spartacus, or picking crops like Tom Joad, or getting lashed by a vicious landlord like Kunta Kinte, or hustling for a living like Ratso Rizzo!

"In a movie about the Cuban revolution, we almost never see any of the working poor for whom the revolution was supposedly fought," sniffs Peter Reiner in The Christian Science Monitor. "'The Lost City' misses historical complexity." ...




comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list