Saturday, 14 June 2014
It was a warm evening, I'd spent an arduous afternoon on a park bench with my book and I didn't feel like going home, so I treated myself to a Italian-mamma sized icecream for a healthy dinner (pistachios are protein-packed, right?) and took myself off to a late movie.
I was curious to see Day of the Flowers as it's Carlos Acosta's film debut - although sadly, he only does a bit of light salsa-twirling. He's okay, his part wasn't exactly demanding. He plays a dance teacher who works as a part-time tour guide ... in fact, pretty much what he might well have been doing in real life had he not become an international ballet star.
The movie is a bit of a dog's dinner, but the budget clearly didn't run to rewrites. Two Glaswegian sisters, from feisty Scottish lassies central casting - hire two and the boyfriend in a kilt comes free - take their lefty dad's ashes to scatter them in Cuba. So, yes, it's a bad holiday rom-com except that there's a more interesting darker side of the movie - clumsily grafted on - addressing the poverty that forces the locals to prey on tourists.
The saving grace, of course, is Cuba - which is the real star of the film. It was filmed mostly in Havana (though it's supposed to be Trinidad de Cuba). Anyone who has ever been there leaves a part of their heart behind. Of course, it's poverty that fuels the spontaneous hospitality with which families invite you back to their homes ... it's private enterprise, but their warmth and Cuban graciousness is genuine. I went on a package tour. And ended up at a meeting of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution in someone's front room. (It's like Neighbourhood Watch.With a nasty bite.)
As for the day on the beach, when I was robbed of everything, including my shoes ... and walked barefoot back to my hotel in only my swimsuit (and that's a sight, I promise you) ... well, it was done with such charm that I had to laugh.
It was one of the best holidays I've ever had.