Cuban Blood (DVD Review)1 Mar, 2006 By: Angelique Flores
Prebook 3/23/06; Street 4/18/06
Stars Harvey Keitel, Gael Garcia Bernal, Iben Hjejle.
Set right before Cuba's Communist Revolution, Cuban Blood is a coming-of-age story for one boy living through it. The nameless 11-year-old boy is becoming more aware of politics, his family secrets and girls. While he battles the neighborhood bullies and his feelings for an older girl, grandfather Che (Keitel) is battling both Fidel Castro's rebels and President Batista's police. Che not only is the family's patriarch, but the town looks up to the wealthy casino owner.
With his mom distraught over his dad's departure to Miami, the boy finds comfort in his friend Julia. The town's “gringa,” Julia is an American who left Hollywood, searching for inspiration as a painter. She helps the boy through his adolescent problems and tries to keep him out of the revolutionary crossfire.
Eventually, Castro takes over, and family secrets are revealed just as the visas arrive for the boy, his mom and his sister to move to Miami.
Cuban Blood is a unique film from first-time director-writer Juan Gerard. In the opening, the boy overacts a bit, but he gets better by the end. However, the talented Keitel (also the producer) just can't pull off the role of a Cuban patriarch. Perhaps it's because he's supported here by a largely Latino cast of veteran actors.
This is an original story that fans of Latino cinema will enjoy. It has the star power of Keitel and Bernal to capture audiences' attention.