Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: "Anoche yo tuve un sueño..." - My Favorite Movie Setting

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Anoche yo tuve un sueño..." - My Favorite Movie Setting

I've been tagged again, by Fletch over at Blog Cabins (who, by the way, should really consider responding to the Dancing Image's Reading the Movies meme I tagged him with, since it has managed to make it all the way to the New Yorker). This tag is one that I think most cinephiles have considered many times since, after all, cinema is a realm that encourages escapism. Originating at Daniel Getahun's Getafilm, here are the rules: 1. Think of a place (real or fictional) and time (past, present, future) portrayed in a movie (or a few) that you would love to visit. 2. List the setting, period, applicable movie, and year of the applicable movie's release (for reference). 3. Explain why, however you'd like (bullet points, list, essay form, screenshots, etc.). If this is a time and place that you have intimate knowledge of, feel free to describe what was done well and what wasn't done well in portraying it. 4. If possible, list and provide links to any related movies, websites, books, and/or articles that relate to your choice(s). 5. Modify Rules #1-4 to your liking. And come up with a better name for this meme. 6. Link back to this Getafilm post in your post, please. 7.) Tag at least five others to participate (Since I'm joining this party kind of late—I'm on vacation at the moment—anyone who reads this can consider themselves tagged)! Place/Setting: Havana, Cuba Year/Period: Late 1950s As Seen In: The Godfather Part II (1974) Why: Growing up in and around Little Havana always made me hyperconscious that, unlike others of ethnic descent, I could not visit my parents' homeland for political reasons. And even if I was successful in getting government approval to visit family still in Cuba, all indications are that the island is a pale shadow of its former self, which hit the peak of its popularity with foreign visitors in the late fifties. Though shot in the Dominican Republic, The Godfather Part II creates a reasonable facsimile of Havana just before the fall in a fleeting chapter of the crime saga. One gets a sense of a city on the edge... of danger, change, rebirth. One is also exposed to the easy temptations that permeated the city, with its nightclub and gambling scene providing the exciting backdrop. Best Aspects of Havana: Old-World architecture; lush tropical scenery; fantastic Afro-Cuban art, dance and music; heightened sexuality. Worst Aspects of Havana: Extreme stratification of the economic classes; rampant corruption; paranoia; grim poverty outside in the rural areas. Further Reading/Viewing: Our Man in Havana (1959) I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba) (1964) Cuba (1979) Havana (1990) The Mambo Kings (1992) Before Night Falls (2000) The Lost City (2005) Che (2008)


Anonymous said...

and Guantanamera (hilarious movie, suprisingly supported by the Cuban government).

Daniel said...

Thanks for participating, Tony! This is a really great selection - I'm actually surprised more people didn't choose Cuba, seeing as how it isn't the easiest place to get to - for now...

Wow, just those screen shots from The GFII you've found offer a tantalizing idea of what it may have been like 50 years ago. I also appreciate the other movies you recommend (I notice that you excluded, ahem, Dirty Dancing II: Havana Nights).

I'd still love to go to Cuba one day. My girlfriend went for a week a couple years ago and liked it quite a bit. It didn't sound like the easiest place to live, though, in terms of personal freedoms. Pretty interesting little slice of island paradise.

Tony Dayoub said...

Welcome to the site, Daniel. Yeah, with this meme, it only seems like there's two ways to go.

Pick some variation on the future, which is what you did. Who wouldn't like to live in some place with postmodern technology? My second choice was Star Trek's 23rd century.

Or pick a place that was impossible to go to either because of time (the past) or circumstance (political oppression). My choice seems to be a result of both of these considerations.

Fletch said...

I like your choice as well, Tony. Can't say that I'm terribly excited at the prospect of going there today, but the 1950s version seems like it would be a place full of life, with Havana a city that had a lively personality at all hours of the day.

As for the Reading meme, I had to respectfully decline (in the comments section of your post), where I cited ignorance as my main reason. I just don't/haven't read many books on film, preferring instead to watch films based on books. ;)