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Barrio Cuba (2005) — CubaBarrio Cuba (2005) — Cuba

           This award-winning film from Havana follows the struggles of three multi-generational families. Sweltering heat, dilapidated buildings, a dysfunctional economy, and a spartan diet ("We're having beans and rice again because that's what the grocery had") are only the beginning of their deeply human struggles. Magalis bikes to her job as a nurse and attracts all the wrong sort of men — an aging carpenter who's hopelessly in love with her, a no-good cheater, and a rich Italian, but her real challenge is the fight between her dictatorial father and her gay brother. When Maria dies in childbirth her husband Santos flees, leaving the grandmother to raise the boy and to salvage the son's image of his absent father. In the third story, the engineer Chino and his pharmacist wife Vivian suffer a miscarriage, and with it the expectations of their parents for a grandchild, both of which are aggravated by a sibling who flees with his family from Cuba. The three stories are not connected in the film, except for a common theme — people who flee their problems then face the challenge to return for reconciliation. The problems are real, but their resolutions are contrived.

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