|Directed by||Juan Carlos Cremata|
|Produced by||Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky|
|Written by||Juan Carlos Cremata
|Starring||Luisa Maria Jiménez
Alberto Camilo Pujol Acosta
|Music by||Slim Pezin
Amaury Ramírez Malberti
|Cinematography||Alejandro Pérez Gómez|
|Edited by||Angélica Salvador Alonso
|Distributed by||Epicentre Films (France)|
|February, 2005 (Cuba)|
Viva Cuba is a 2005 Cuban film, directed by Juan Carlos Cremata and Iraida Malberti Cabrera, and written by Cremata and Manolito Rodriguez. It was the first Cuban film to be awarded the ‘Grand Prix Écrans Juniors’ for children’s cinema at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
In Viva Cuba, a road movie fairy tale, Cremata tackles localized Cuban problems from the literal point of view of the country’s children. He lowers the camera to the eye level of the film’s protagonists, Malú (Malú Tarrau Broche) and Jorgito (Jorgito Miló Ávila).
Viva Cuba is a Cuban independent film that explores emigration and the effects it can have on children who have to leave friends and extended families behind. Youngsters are often uprooted without being consulted and then must contend with their new surroundings. In one scene, Malú and Jorgito discuss when they might reunite. The best they can hope for is to forget one another as their lives change and they face new pleasures and challenges. The viewer knows they are unlikely to ever see each other again, unless Malú’s mother can be granted re-entry, which is extremely unlikely given the state of Cuban immigration laws.
Taking place in Cuba, Malú is from a middle-class family and her single mother does not want her to play with Jorgito, as she thinks his background is coarse and common-place. Jorgito's mother, a poor socialist proud of her family's social standing, places similar restrictions on her son. What neither women recognize is the immense strength of the bond between Malú and Jorgito. Following the death of Malú's grandmother, the children find out that Malú's mother is planning to leave Cuba to go to another country, where she has a boyfriend, Jorgito suggests they run away and travel to the other side of the island to find Malú's father and persuade him against signing the forms that would allow Malú and her mother to leave the country, followed by him saying that if they were to hug strongly, they would be inseparable, even if Malú were to leave Cuba.
Both children are seen preparing for the journey as their social statuses are greatly contrasted. Malú's clean clothes and her plastic drinking cup at breakfast and her toys are compared to Jorgito's uncleaned clothes and the use of a metal cup for breakfast. The two children embark on their journey, avoiding the police sent to search for the two of them. The disappearing of both children bring their two mothers closer together in their grief.
Jorgito loses the map he brought with him and tensions rise between the two children. Not to mention, Malú sung on stage at a festival that was broadcast over the air. The kids' parents saw Malú on TV and had the implication that Malú and Jorgito were, in fact, traveling towards the lighthouse. Jorgito then becomes infuriated with Malú.
They insult each other; Malú brings up Jorgito's social status, and Jorgito calls Malú's mother a slut. However, they were stuck with each other for the rest of the journey. One day, Malú gets hungry, and the two kids find a tent containing tons of food and goods, although they don't know who it belongs to. The kids fight over who gets to eat what food until the owner of the tent arrives asking why they were trespassing. Malú explains their story, while she and Jorgito also try to explain that they didn't want to be friends anymore. The owner of the tent tells them that true friends always stay friends, even if they fight, causing Malú and Jorgito's bond to reform.
When they reach the lighthouse where Malú's father works, the forms had already been signed before she could persuade him otherwise. The parents (minus Malú's father), having reached the lighthouse before the kids got there, begin to beat their children and argue among each other. The two children run away from the fight and console each other by the shore; a silent goodbye. Malú and Jorgito head down a cliff where they are in front of wide ocean as they strongly hug, proving Jorgito's words of their friendship being eternal. It is implied that the two children jump off of the cliff, committing suicide, although this is not shown in the movie. It is also arguable that the children have been fantasizing the entire time and the final scene does not actually indicate their corporeal deaths, but the death of their cherished friendship.
The film became a box office hit and went on to win many awards nationally and internationally as it was displayed at many film festivals around the world, including 2005 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix Ecrans Juniors Award, plus awards in countries as diverse as Australia, Italy, Guatemala, Germany, France, and Taiwan. In 2008, it was shown all over Venezuela. The film was screened at the Sonoma County Cuban Film Festival in Sebastopol, CA, in July 2015.
Viva Cuba won 34 national and international awards in all, including:
- Grand Prix Ecrans Juniors, Cannes, 2005
- Best Film award at the International Children Cinema and Television Festival in Taiwan.
- Special Mention, Cinecircoli Giovanili Socioculturale. Giffoni International Film Festival, Italia, 2005.
- Premio en las categorías de dirección, guión, dirección de fotografía y edición. Premio Caracol. UNEAC, 2005.
- Premio especial otorgado por la Unión de Pioneros José Martí. UNEAC, 2005.
- Premio de ayuda à la distribución. XIII Festival de Cine de españa y América Latina. Bélgica, 2005.
- Premio à la Mejor Edición. VIII Festival de Cine Infantil. Guayana, Venezuela, 2005.
- Premio à la Mejor Película. VIII Festival de Cine Infantil. Guayana, Venezuela, 2005.
- Reconocimiento Especial de la Agencia Internacional de Noticias Prensa Latina. 27 Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano. La Habana, Cuba, 2005.
- Premio del Oyente de la Emisora radio Progreso. 27 Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano. La Habana, Cuba, 2005.
- A Film Whose Shining Stars Are Children, L'Humanité, October 13, 2006
- Viva Cuba San Francisco International Film Festival.
- Viva Cuba 7th Annual Havana Film Festival in New York, 2006.
- Havana Journal Interview January 30, 2006
- Viva Cuba to Be Played in All Venezuelan Theaters www.cubanews.ain.cu. July 23, 2008.
- 3. Michael Cortese Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival , “Viva Cuba, has received 34 international awards including the Grand Prix Ecrans Junior from Cannes.”
- Viva Cuba to Be Exhibited in Venezuela Prensa Latina, July 21, 2005.