Thursday, June 01, 2017

Santa y Andrés (Santa and Andres)

Santa y Andrés (Santa and Andres), dir. Carlos Lechuga, 2016 Colombia/France/Cuba, 105 min., in Spanish with (badly made) English subtitles, 👌
Thursday, June 15, 10:00pm, Castro Theatre: Bay Area Premiere
Sunday,  June 25, 4:00pm, Castro Theatre

Andrés (Eduardo Martínez)
First, a technical note. In 2017, it is UNACCEPTABLE to have plain white subtitles against a background that is sometimes nearly white. DECADES AGO, the technology was perfected to allow subtitles to be either light text with a dark outline or vice-versa, or use a semi-transparent gray background under the subtitle text. There is absolutely no reason to use this inferior and obsolete technique; if it’s worth subtitling, it’s worth making LEGIBLE subtitles.

(En primer lugar, una nota técnica. En 2017, es INACEPTABLE tener subtítulos blancos contra un fondo que a veces es casi blanco. Hace DÉCADAS, la tecnología fue perfeccionada para hacer subtítulos de texto ligero con un contorno oscuro, o viceversa, o utilizar un fondo gris semi-trans­parente bajo el texto del subtítulo. Absolutamente no hay ninguna razón para usar esta técnica inferior y obsoleta; si vale la pena subtitular, vale la pena hacer subtítulos LEGIBLES.)

Scene: rural Cuba, 1983. The main character, Andrés, is a writer who has been branded as a counter­revolutionary by the Cuban government. There is a “Peace Forum” taking place nearby, with international press in attendance. In order to ensure that Andrés doesn’t sneak “lies against the revolution” to the press, the local informant committee stations farm girl Santa (Lola Amores) to make sure Andrés stays in his shack for the three days. Although they are both lonely, the taboo against fraternizing with, in effect, her prisoner, makes Santa wary of making or accepting any overtures of friendship, but slowly their relationship evolves.

The pacing of the film is evocative of the languid torpor of the tropics, which made me more than a little impatient with it, and indeed I skimmed large chunks of it with the 10-second-skip button on my TV — a luxury cinema audiences may yearn for. Highly recommended for audiences interested in Cuban culture and history, but rather more tepidly recommended for a general audience.

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