Hello Hemingway

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Hello Hemingway
Hello hemingway.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Fernando Pérez
Produced by Ricardo Ávila
Screenplay by Mayda Royero
Starring Laura de la Uz, Raúl Paz, José Antonio Rodríguez, Martha del Río, Herminia Sánchez
Music by Edesio Alejandro
Cinematography Julio Valdés
Edited by Jorge Abello
Production
company
Release dates December 1990
Running time 90 min.
Country Cuba
Language Spanish

Hello Hemingway is a 1990 Cuban drama film directed by Fernando Pérez and starring Laura de la Uz. The plot, set in Havana in the last period of Fulgencio Batista's dictatorship, follows a young girl whose aspirations to obtain a scholarship in America, against the odds, are paralleled with her reading of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.

Plot[edit]

In 1956 Batista's Cuba, sixteen-year-old Larita lives with her mother and her aunt's family in a ramshackle house outside Havana. From their garden they can see Ernest Hemingway's white mansion. At home, she adorns her walls with pictures of Elvis Presley and Tony Curtis, while at school she excels in her English class. Larita is delighted when her teacher suggests that she enters the scholarship exam for a university in America. Larita also happily dates a class mate, Victor, the president of the student association.

On a visit to a bookshop, she is given a copy of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, which she stars to read avidly, drawing parallels between the novel and her own life which she confines to her diary. At home, her family tease her about her academic aspirations, but it is also becomes clear that they resent the fact that while they work hard she studies and contributes nothing to their meager existence. The issue of finances is made more accurate when Larita is sent home because she is not wearing the correct school uniform. However, she passes the first round of scholarship exams and is invited to a reception for the finalist, trying to make herself as presentable as possible with the help of her relatives' sewing skills. She tells Victor that she is in the scholarship short list, which makes him angry since politically America represents everything he despises. That night Larita returns home to find that her uncle has been fired.

At the scholarship interview, it is implied that her chances of a place are severely hampered by the fact that she is illegitimate and does not have the right social connections. In desperation, Larita decides to visit Hemingway to see if he will write a reference for her, but it turns out that he is away. Larita bitterly blames her mother for the fact that she is in disadvantage by poverty and illegitimacy. Meanwhile, at school, the student protest are becoming more frequent, culminating one afternoon in Victor's arrests.

Later that year, Larita takes a job at a coffee bar where one evening the scholarship administrator walks by and recognizes her, unaware of her profound disappointment about the award. Undaunted by the knowledge that she may never have the education and career of her dreams, Larita, like the old fisherman in Hemingway's tale, is able to salvage some hope out of her despair.

Cast[edit]

  • Laura de la Uz - Larita
  • Raúl Paz - Victor
  • José Antonio Rodríguez - Tomás
  • Herminia Sánchez - Josefa
  • Micheline Calvert - Miss Amalia

DVD release[edit]

The film was released on DVD in the USA in April 2002. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles.

Notes[edit]