Skip to comments."THE LOST CITY" By Andy Garcia
Posted on 06/20/2006 6:49:48 AM PDT by Dqban22
A must see movie. In Houston on Friday June 23 at the River Oaks Theater, 2009 West Gray. Ph: 713-866-8881 www.landmarktheaters.com
Movie critics aghast at Andy Garcias The Lost City
Humberto Fontova* BrookesNews.Com Monday 8 May 2006
Andy Garcia blew it big-time with his movie The Lost City. He blew it with the mainstream critics, that is. Almost unanimously, theyre ripping a movie 16 years in the making. In this engaging drama of a middle-class Cuban family crumbling during free Havanas last days, which he both directs and stars in, Garcia insisted on depicting some historical truth about Cuba a grotesque and unforgivable blunder in his industry. Hes now paying the price.
Earlier, many film festivals refused to screen it. Now many Latin American countries refuse to show it. The film's offenses are many and varied. Most unforgivable of all, Che Guevara is shown killing people in cold blood. Who ever heard of such nonsense? And just where does this uppity Andy Garcia get the effrontery to portray such things? The man obviously doesn't know his place.
And just where did Garcia get this preposterous notion of pre-Castro Cuba as a relatively prosperous but politically troubled place, they ask. All the Cubans he portrays seem middle class. Where in his movie is the tsunami of stooped and starving peasants that carried Fidel and Che into Havana on its crest, they ask. Where are all those diseased and illiterate laborers and peasants my professors, Dan Rather, CNN and Oliver Stone told me about, ask the critics.
Garcia that cinematic bomb-thrower has seriously jolted the mainstream medias fantasies and hallucinations of pre-Castro Cuba, of Che, of Fidel, and of Cubans in general. In consequence, the critics are unnerved and disoriented. Their annoyance and scorn are spewing forth in review after review.
Garcia blew it. If only his characters had spoken with accents like John Belushis as a Saturday Night Live killer bee! If only theyd dressed like The Three Amigos! If only theyd behaved like Cheech and Chong! If only they'd mimicked the mannerisms and gait of Freddie Prinze in Chico and the Man! If only the women had piled a roadside fruit stand on their head like Carmen Miranda in Road to Rio! If only the cast had looked like the little guy who handles my luggage when I visit Cancun! Or the guys who do my lawn! Everybody knows thats what Hispanics look like!
If only masses of Cubans had been shown toiling in salt mines like Spartacus, or picking crops like Tom Joad, or getting lashed by a vicious landlord like Kunta Kinte, or hustling for a living like Ratso Rizzo! In a movie about the Cuban revolution, we almost never see any of the working poor for whom the revolution was supposedly fought, sniffs Peter Reiner in The Christian Science Monitor. The Lost City misses historical complexity.
Actually, what's missing is Mr. Reiners historical knowledge. Andy Garcia and screenwriter Guillermo Cabrera Infante knew full well that the working poor had no role in the stage of the Cuban revolution shown in the movie. The anti-Batista rebellion was led and staffed overwhelmingly by Cubas middle and, especially, upper class. To wit: In August of 1957 Castros rebel movement called for a national strike against the Batista dictatorship and threatened to shoot workers who reported to work. The national strike was completely ignored.
Another was called for April 9, 1958. And again Cuban workers blew a loud and collective raspberry at their liberators, reporting to work en masse. Garcias tale bemoans the loss of easy wealth for a precious few, harrumphs Michael Atkinson in The Village Voice. Poor people are absolutely absent; Garcia and Infante seem to have thought that peasant revolutions happen for no particular reason or at least no reason the moneyed 1 percent should have to worry about.
Whats absolutely absent is Mr. Atkinsons knowledge about the Cuba Garcia depicts in his movie. His crack about that moneyed 1 percent and especially his peasant revolution epitomize the cliched idiocies still parroted by the chattering classes about Cuba. The impoverished masses of Cubans who embraced Castro as a liberator appear only in grainy, black-and-white news clips, snorts Stephen Holden in The New York Times. Political dialogue in the film is strictly of the junior high school variety.
Its Holdens education on the Cuban Revolution thats of the junior high school variety. Actually its Harvard Graduate School variety. Many more imbecilities about Cuba are heard in Ivy League classrooms than in any rural junior high school. It fails to focus on the poverty-stricken workers whose plight lit the fires of revolution, complains Rex Reed in the New York Observer.
Youre better off attempting rational discourse with the Flat-Earth Society, but nonetheless Ill try to dispel the fantasies of pre-Castro Cuba still cherished by Americas most prestigious academics and its most learned film critics. Ill even stay away from those crackpots and hotheads in Miami. In place of those insufferable revanchists and hard-liners Ill use a source generally esteemed by liberal highbrow types: the United Nations.
Here's a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) report on Cuba circa 1957: One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class, it starts. Cuban workers are more unionized (proportional to the population) than U.S. workers. The average wage for an 8-hour day in Cuba in 1957 is higher than for workers in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany. Cuban labor receives 66.6 per cent of gross national income. In the U.S. the figure is 70 per cent, in Switzerland 64 per cent. 44 per cent of Cubans are covered by social legislation, a higher percentage than in the U.S.
In 1958 Cuba had a higher per-capita income than Austria and Japan. Cuban industrial workers had the eighth-highest wages in the world. In the 1950s Cuban stevedores earned more per hour than their counterparts in New Orleans and San Francisco. Cuba had established an eight-hour workday in 1933 five years before FDRs New Dealers got around to it. Add to this a one-month paid vacation. The much-lauded (by liberals) social democracies of Western Europe didnt manage this till 30 years later.
And get this, Maxine Waters, Barbara Walters, Andrea Mitchell, Diane Sawyer and the rest of you feminist Castro groupies: Cuban women got three months of paid maternity leave. I repeat, this was in the 1930s. Cuba, a country 71 percent white in 1957, was completely desegregated 30 years before Rosa Parks was dragged off that Birmingham bus and handcuffed.
In 1958 Cuba had more female college graduates per capita than the U.S. The anti-Batista rebellion (not revolution) was staffed and led overwhelmingly by college students and professionals. Unemployed lawyers were prominent (take Fidel Castro himself).
Heres the makeup of the peasant revolutions first Cabinet, drawn from the leaders in the anti-Batista fight: seven lawyers, two university professors, three university students, one doctor, one engineer, one architect, one former city mayor and a colonel who defected from the Batista army. A notoriously bourgeois bunch, as Che himself might have put it.
By 1961, however, workers and campesinos (country folk) made up the overwhelming bulk of the anti-Castroite rebels, especially the guerrillas in the Escambray mountains. And boy, would THAT rebellion make for an action-packed and gut-wrenching movie! If by some miracle it ever got made, you can bet these learned critics would pan it too. Who ever heard of poor country folk fighting against their benefactors Fidel and Che?
The New York Times Stephen Holden also sneers at Garcias implication that life sure was peachy before Fidel Castro came to town and ruined everything. In fact, Mr. Holden, before Castro came to town, Cuba took in more immigrants (primarily from Europe) as a percentage of population than the U.S. And more Americans lived in Cuba than Cubans in the U.S. Furthermore, inner tubes were used in truck tires, oil drums for oil, and Styrofoam for insulation.
None were cherished black market items for use as flotation devices to flee the glorious liberation while fighting off hammerheads and tiger sharks. The learned Mr. Holden is also annoyed by buffoonish parodies of sour Communist apparatchiks barking orders.
Apparently, Communist apparatchiks should be properly depicted as somewhat misguided social workers, or as slightly overzealous Howard Dean campaign staffers. It's no parody, Mr. Holden, that the apparatchiks Garcia depicts in his movie incarcerated and executed a higher percentage of their countrymen in their first three months in power than Hitler and his apparatchiks jailed and executed in their first three years. As well complain that the guards and police in Schindlers List, Julia or The Diary of Anne Frank come across as hackneyed caricatures.
Instead lets portray them with more complexity, as misguided idealists who followed a leader who unshackled the German working class from its subservience to snooty barons, who eradicated Germanys unemployment and who ended Germanys national humiliation at the hands of Europes premier imperialist powers.
Andy Garcia shows it precisely right. In 1958 Cuba was undergoing a rebellion, not a revolution. Cubans expected political change, not a socioeconomic cataclysm and catastrophe. But I fully realize such distinctions are much too complex for a film critic to grasp. They prefer boneheaded cliches. Garcia might have followed the laudable examples of historical complexity and accuracy shown in previous movies on Cuba. Take two that these critics compare (favorably) to The Lost City, Havana and Godfather II.
In Havana, the brilliant director Sydney Pollack casts Fulgencio Batista with blond hair and blue eyes. In fact Batista was a black. In Godfather II, Francis Ford Coppola, to show Havana streets on New Years Eve 1958, casts more people than marched in Los Angeles last week and depicts them in a battle scene right out of Braveheart. In fact, Havana streets were deathly quiet that night.
I dont presume to the exalted position of a film critic. So I dont comment on the dramatic and cinematic criticisms made by these august critics. Im not saying, or even implying, that The Lost City is a better movie than Godfather II. I'm simply criticizing the critics on their criticism of the historical accuracy of The Lost City. In these reviews we see in all its classic splendor the mainstream medias thundering and apparently incurable stupidity on matters Cuban.
Humberto Fontova is the author of Fidel: Hollywoods Favorite Tyrant, described as absolutely devastating. An enlightening read you'll never forget by David Limbaugh. David Horowitz says: Humberto has performed a valuable service to the cause of decency and human freedom. Every American should read this book.
I'm confused. Are you saying that the movie is?
a. a great movie worth seeing
b trash that is not worth seeing
Are you saying the movie is:
a. historically accurate
b. grossly inaccurate
I have been looking forward to seeing it.
But it hasn't been in the Twin Cities area yet - that I'm aware of.
Read beyond the first sentence of the article.
Garcia did not kiss Castro's butt which, to the film critics that lionize the likes of Michael Moore and idealize Communists countries they never have to live in, that is unpardonable sin.
"Garcia that cinematic bomb-thrower has seriously jolted the mainstream medias fantasies and hallucinations of pre-Castro Cuba, of Che, of Fidel, and of Cubans in general. In consequence, the critics are unnerved and disoriented. Their annoyance and scorn are spewing forth in review after review. "
a. and a.
LOL. And here I was trying to be nice to the guy.
Well you got the first response in at 9:06 and the article was posted at 8:49...
Did you actualy read it?
a) did someone write these questions for you? (if so who?)
b) are you too lazy to read the article
LOL. There are none so blind as those who will not read.
Check out this site:
It's got some good stuff on Che. He was a big phoney.
I hope the Cuban exiles and other Americans who know the truth turn this movie into this year's "Passion of the Christ," with huge box office figures.
Nice job on the content, too. :)
FReeper trivia: Garcia is a cojoined twin, whose brother/sister wasn't developed and had to be surgically removed.
To HR: Thought you might be interested in this, my FRiend.
Yes, it is a great movie worth to seeing
and yes, is historically accurate.
It portrays the horrors of Bastista's dictatorship as well as the crimes against humanity of Castros'Communist genocide regime.
One of the problems is that this article is very badly written. It takes so long to get to its real point many readers probably give up or reach the wrong conclusion.
I lived through the period in question and have been aware of the media-spawned Big Lie and false history that's been sold to the American public since the beginning of the '60s. I also know Garcia's background and Che's bloodthirstiness. Yet with all that it took real determination for me to see what the author was getting at.
I did read the article...
a. it sounded like you liked the movie...
b. but later on I wasn't sure...
c. so I thought I'd ask...and cut to the chase
Most of it.
They took that pic a few hours after saying to the Bolivians: "I am Che, I am valuable to you. I want to negotiate."
They didn't feel like negotiating.
"Well you got the first response in at 9:06 and the article was posted at 8:49...
Did you actualy read it? "
No speaka or reada da english...
Fidel grew a beard so he could play the romantic role of a 20th Century Garibaldi, The difference is that Garibaldi was pure of heart; Castro is a devil. Pope Pius IX joked that he and Garibaldi were the only honest men in Italy, because neither wanted political power.
It sounds like a great movie.
Ooo La La, Andy!
< Yet with all that it took real determination for me to see what the author was getting at. >
Funny. I knew from the first 2 sentences.
If Garcia "blew it" with the main stream critics, it means he actually got something historically accurate about a lefty icon.
Wow. Andy Garcia scores a direct hit on the sacred cow of the rich and pampered.
Good for him.
IT'S A GEM! GO SEE IT!
by gigi.miamihavana (movies profile) Apr 30, 2006
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
Artistically, the movie is gem. WHAT MUSIC! The sets accurately represent the epoch of the 50s; the costumes and make-up are superb! The cinematography beautifully pleases the eye. The strategy of telling Cuba's cultural demise through events that happen within one family is very effective.
Andy Garcia has been able to vividly portray what was written in the script by the great (and late) Cuban author Gillermo Cabrera Infante, who was a Cervantes Award winner. Andy explained during an interview that CAIN (Cabrera-Infante's num-de-plume)did get to see at least part of the movie before he passed away(some months ago).
This movie is a superb attempt at explaining the great tragedy of the Cuban people, which, of course, does not historically stop where the movie ends--the reason being is that Castro is still in power. He (Castro) is still feeding the beast of "deconstruction." This movie is very compelling because it speaks the truth of what many Cubans have really gone through during this 47-year old nightmare.
The movie does not contain an ounce of propaganda; on the contrary, there is not enough time within its length to describe more horrendous passages of the destruction of an entire culture. While wishing to correct the system by getting rid of a dictatorship (and thus regain democracy), Cubans were unfortunate - because instead they were swallowed by the monster of this incredibly long-lasting totalitarian regime that, SADLY, is seen or judged by many as a "model" type of government/society.
There is nothing further from the truth than to say that Latin America "needed" such system, as some have even claimed. Those who make those comments are unaware that they are merely perpetuating Castro's propaganda machine. Many, like the citizens of Venezuela, do not realize what a regime such as Castro's really entails until it comes knocking at their own door. Unfortunately, Venezuela is being wrapped up into the frenzy of a type of governmental and social system that can only be described as "Castronianism," mainly due to Hugo Chavez' strange fascination with Castro. Hopefully, Cuba will be free someday! Go watch the movie-you'll enjoy it.
Guess you're just a whole lot smarter than me.
It was worth waiting for.
by miamiessen (movies profile) May 4, 2006
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I am an Anglo woman who can identify with the Cuban exiles. This movie is not only about the horrific plight of the Cuban people, but all human beings through out the world who have been manipulated by a dictator or who have struggled for their own freedom from oppression. I appreciated the focus on the family dynamics and how it showed the malevolence of F. Castro. I think Andy Garcia did not only an excellent job as a director, but, again, he gives a wonderful performance as an actor. It is a movie for all people to see and empathize with the arduous journey of the Cuban people.
Haven't lived the horror
by cubanalibre57 (movies profile) Apr 30, 2006
75 of 85 people found this review helpful
Funny how "professional" critics put down this movie with such ignorance. It's easy to watch a movie and critize the acting, the plot, the direction, and the feelings that went into it, but unless you have lived in Cuba, and seen it's horrors, you cannot critique AT ALL! To all those so called "professionals", live the life of an exile, suffer with the ones still living there, walk in their shoes, THEN speak, otherwise, keep your reviews to yourself, this isn't HOLLYWOOD, it's real life and it's about time someone told it like it really is, without fear of being put down by so called film critics! These critics are insensitive people, taking for granted where they were born and how they live today, spoiled to the core. Thank you Andy Garcia, you are a wonderful human being.
It's about time
by avolaone (movies profile) Apr 28, 2006
44 of 47 people found this review helpful
I saw this movie at a special showing in Los Angeles and although I had gone with the idea that it would focus on Cuba's history during the 1959-1960 period, it turned out to be more about the destruction of a prominent family. After "adjusting" my thinking to this fact, I found the movie to be extremely well done as it very poignantly depicts what so, so many families went through, including my own. I highly recommend this movie to all Cubans, those in exile as well as to their children born in the U.S. or elsewhere and specially to all those people who still think that Fidel and "El Che" are heroes. This film shows a little of what they truly are. My very deep respect and thankfulness go to Andy Garcia for having the guts to make this movie and to everyone that worked in it in any way. It's about time!
I changed the subject. Who was sexy? The movie stars Ms. Coulter digs are Andy Garcia, Peter Horton and Tom Selleck.
Great, now I'm going to have images of Garcia's dead twin floating through my mind for the rest of the day,
And for the guys Ines Sastre is in it.
A long awaited disclosure...
by faircritic4all (movies profile) May 20, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
In reading the "critic" reviews about "Lost City", I would have chosen not to take the time to see this movie. However, having had fist hand experience in the subject, I was very much interested in seeing for myself what this work of passion from Andy Garcia(much like Mel Gibson's in "Passion of the Christ")was all about.
And, I was delightfully surprised with a beautifully projected cinematography gem, basking in a cast of solid, yet sensitively mastered acting, which could do nothing less than add exactly what the movie needed to bring to reality the Cuban experience, which many Americans, as well as other countries, have never fully understood.
The amazing thing is that Mr. Garcia, while his characters denounced Castro and his regimen, never allowed himself to take the liberty of taking a "cheap shot" at Fidel Castro, or Che, for that matter, in his handling of the scenes where they appeared.
As the director, and having been affected personally by Fidel's politics, he could have bombarded the leader and his supporters in a humilating manner, making the audience hate and despise these characters, only. Instead, the director chose a very admirable "neutral" stance, and just presented the facts, allowing his characters, inclusive of Che and Fidel, to project themselves and evolve as complex human beings, just like any other in the story.
The movie must be seen to fully understand its virtues and triumphs.
A well recommended must see for Americans to understand why so many Cubans have chosen to uproot themselves, in spite of great personal loss, to give their children the freedom and future that Castro took from them so long ago...
A must see movie for our children
by andaletu (movies profile) May 5, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Only a cuban could have done a film so accurate. The music is superb and the story right on the money. As to the unfavorable critic, what to expect!!! Hollywood has never been on the right side of history and all I can tell them is that there are 2.4 million cubans(out of 13)who prefered to start a new life washing dishes anywhere in the world than to live in "paradise"
Bravo Andy, bravo!!!!!
Liberal Ivy-educated Cuban shocked by ignorance.
by dpr_062787 (movies profile) May 15, 2006
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Some facts for the ignorant critics: 1. The Cuban revolution had nothing to do with a "peasant" revolt- it was financed mostly by wealthy Cubans already in the US. Protests against the corrupt Batista government began in the University and the leadership in the Escambray was entirely from the "elite" and educated. 2. Pre-Castro Cuba had the highest standard of living in all of Latin America and had a very large middle class. 3. The mere existence of more than a million Cubans in exile expose as an ignorant lier the critic who bemoans the "1% with all the money" whom he presumes were the only ones who objected when Che began executing people (men, women and children as young as 15) without any semblance of a trial. 4. The movie is historically truthful and representative- sorry if it doesn't jive with your fantasy. Grade A.
The Lost City
by perfectionpresident (movies profile) May 6, 2006
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I most admit that, originally, I went to see this movie out of support for Andy Garcia. When a man commits to his dream and realizes it through work and sweat, (a la Mel Gibson) he is worthy of recognition and rewards. That been said, I wholeheartedly recommend this motion picture. It will go down as a masterpiece & as one of the most true to fact stories of exiles ever exposed on film. This is not a Cuban story; its a human story. Everyone that sees this film will find something theyll identify themselves with, no matter what their background. If you want your children to know what their grandparents went through, what they gave up, what all those stories they tell are about, take them too to see this epic. Youll be glad you did. Maybe you can talk about it around the dinner table, as a family, at six oclock sharp.
"the article was about the movie's accurate rendition of Cuban history and why this accuracy infuriates Hollywood lefties."
This is exactly why I asked the question. It sounds like it's worth seeing because it's entertaining AND accurate. I don't want to waste my time watching a movie that's accurate. The Midnight Express eg was accurate and entertaining.
PS-Does it have a happy ending? :-)
"Guess you're just a whole lot smarter than me."
I agree with you, I tried reading the article and wandered off scratching my head. So I asked some direct questions, and I'm made to feel like an idiot. :-) Glad someone else feels the same way.
If a person can't say what they want in one paragraph in this forum...they better try re-writing it.
Bottom line, sounds like a movie to go see!
Why would you want to have Ann Coulter photos posted on an Andy Garcia thread? Well, rules are rules...
Here's one of Ann with some guy...
quick profiles of Che and Fidel at The Leftwing Monsters Club:
Just click on the nice photos
It's one thing to have an off-point lead paragraph that catches readers' attention, followed by 2-3 graphs showing the main point the writer wants to make. After that more exposition is okay once a general point of view is established. This article keeps on backing and backing, giving mostly exposition instead of substance, to roughly the 21st paragraph.
Castro's "revolution" was indeed a rebellion. Its Marxist nature was well concealed, not just by the Castro contingent but by the American media. Once intellectuals and other anti-Castroites were being taken to "the wall" by Che and other killers and shot, the media were forced to tell the truth. But since then we've had almost 50 years of sympathetic media pro-Castro propaganda and lies.
Batista's regime was dictatorial and the U.S. was wrong for supporting it so uncritically. But pre-Castro Cuba wasn't at all the hell-hole of repression the Left claims it was. I look forward to seeing a truthful movie from Garcia's point of view.
Miriam-living in exile
So much truth with so little money!!
by armf67 (movies profile) May 11, 2006
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
For the first time I see a movie about the reality of the so called cuban revolution that is true to the events that took place, despite the limited resources, Andy Garcia was able to discribe what really happened in a simple way, the music is great, can't wait for the soundtrack to become available, it took Andy 16 years to make it, big studios didn't find it "commercially viable", in a way it was better this way so there was not influence from Hollywood "history makers", I could see myself in the scene when Fico was leaving Cuba, only I was just 17 years old and the cuban watchdogs made me empty my pockets and used a metal detector to see if there was hidden jewelery, all of this behind a courtain so other passengers traveling in the same plane couldn't see the ways of the revolution, this movie is a must for Hollywood liberals, this is how movies are to be made, true to reality and without the influence of liberals agenda, it deserves an Oscar, Andy did an excellent job, I admire people like him with the will to make thing right, even if it takes a long time, we need more movies like this one and like Mel Gibson's,
leave fantasy and fiction to Hollywood.
Sincerely, ALex Munoz
Finally a great movie about the real Cuba!
by soypalmalibre (movies profile) Apr 29, 2006
42 of 47 people found this review helpful
I loved the acting, the music and the story...
My mother is 89 years old and has not been at the movies for many years...she is partially disabled. She has waited for years for The Lost City to open, and yesterday she got dressed very early and asked me to take her to see it!...My dad was a very famous comic in Cuba during the 30's, 40's and 50's his name was Adolfo Otero "El Gallego Otero"...
We are Cubans exiled in this great country and Andy Garcia is our hero...THANK YOU ANDY FOR A WONDERFUL MOVIE THAT SHOWS OUR BEAUTIFUL HAVANA AND OUR TRADITIONS AND LOVE FOR FAMILY. MY MOM AND I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO BOND AND CRY TOGETHER AND REMEMBER THE SADDEST DAY OF OUR LIVES...THE DAY WE LEFT CUBA... BRAVO!!!!!
A tearjerker film.
by tugando01 (movies profile) May 1, 2006
37 of 39 people found this review helpful
If you are a Cuban exile, then this movie will make you cry like a baby. Others will find the music and dancing very entertaining.
I saw this movie in Miami, so you obviously realize that there were a lot of Cubans in the theater. Just about everyone wept throughout this movie. It apparently took the older generation back to the beginnings of the destruction of Cuba by Che Guevara and Castro.
Overall, it was a great movie.
One, because he is a liberal who fails to recognize the dangers that liberalism ultimatly causes OR two, he does not realize that it is his own political philosophy that lead to the rise to power of Castro and his regime.........
As I stated above, this is merely a gut feeling and I can't substantiate anything I have said........
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