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'Lost City' Found on DVD

26 Aug, 2006 By: Angelique Flores

Andy Garcia (right) plays with the Cineson All-Stars at a DVD launch party. Photo: Jon Didier

“Music is Cuba; Cuba is music,” Andy Garcia said. “It's accompanied me all my life.”

That's why music plays a central theme in his feature-film directorial debut The Lost City.

The story takes place in late-1958 Havana as Fidel Castro is toppling the Cuban government. Nightclub owner Fico (Garcia) struggles to keep his family together as the revolution tears apart his family and his business.

The movie's music and lyrics relate to every scene portrayed in Fico's life, Garcia said.

Magnolia Home Entertainment released the film on DVD Aug. 8 ($26.98). The DVD comes with a making-of featurette, deleted scenes and director's commentary. The most unique extra is the English subtitles translating the Spanish-language lyrics, Garcia said.

“You can hear what the characters are going through and understand what's being said,” he said.

Garcia composed the original music for the film, which was written by legendary Cuban writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante. It has been compared to such classics as Casablanca and The Godfather.

“The tonality is rooted in that style,” he said. “Anytime you get a cabaret owner during a dramatic time wearing a white tux, you're going to get those comparisons [to Casablanca]. It's an homage to those films, a subconscious influence.”

Having left Cuba himself as a child, Garcia said making the film was “somewhat cathartic.” But it didn't come easy. It took 16 years for Andy Garcia to obtain financing for The Lost City. He finally secured it through an investment firm that had no previous experience in the film business.

Now Garcia is proud “that [the film] exists, that the story's been told,” he said. “It's never been covered from the point of view of a Cuban family before.”

Garcia hopes future Latino filmmakers won't have the same challenges he faced in making The Lost City, which grossed $2.5 million at the domestic box office in limited release.

“It's a culturally accurate portrayal of Cuban culture,” he said. “But the exile experience is universal. The movie can be commercially viable, so maybe the next [Latino] movie won't take 16 years to make.”

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