- Director: Agustí Villaronga
- Writer: Agustí Villaronga
- Producer: Luisa Matienzo; Celines Toribio
Who said: Size doesn't matter?
They were lying...here's the proof!
Señor Villaronga never disappoints...always able to shock, always able to reach in, fumble around and tear your heart to shreds...and, as every filmmaker should be...a masterful story-teller.
Within 10 minutes...you're hooked (and that includes the inspired opening credits)...three deaths within 3 minutes and an edit that will - quite simply - take your breath away.
The King of Havana lurches from the farcical to the tragic, from the cheap side of life to glimpses of the finer side...it never strays far from its roots. If you are born from shit, you stay in it! Where being illiterate is something to be proud of, where sex is the only thing you can give, where love is spurious, inconsequential and [above all] passionate!
The narrative drives hard, the emotion climbs gears...the theatricality cruises its way down a dual carriageway. There are two loves, one man/boy...and, nothing much else. It really is that bleak.
Yordanka Ariosa delivers a performance akin to dynamite. Maikol David is solid. Héctor Medina does - with a brilliant perceptible edge - what he did in Viva...this film could easily be seen as a sequel...what happened after!
But the star of this show is...Agustí Villaronga - a director who should make more films...but, perhaps, that's his strength...less is - definitely - more!
The King of Havana is an astonishing film...
This Cuba is desolate, degenerate and degrading...hopefully, this Cuba has become That Cuba...because, this is life over the edge. And, it ain't no pretty vista from here.
It's painful. It's tragic. It's funny. Perhaps, it is a masterpiece!
Agustí Villaronga adapts the novel of the same name by Pedro Juan Gutiérrez. Recently escaped from reformatory, young Reinaldo tries to get by in the streets of Havana in the late 90s, one of the worst decades for Cuban society. Hopes, disillusionment, rum, good humour and above all hunger, accompany him in his wanderings until he meets Magda and Yunisleidy, survivors like himself. In one or the other's arms, he will try to escape the material and moral misery surrounding him, living love, passion, tenderness and uninhibited sex to the limit.