Sombras De Azul  Cuba, Mexico, USA / 2013 / 97 mins

Director Kelly Daniela Norris' feature film debut reimagines her own experience of bereavement following the death of her brother through the lens of an introspective young woman, MARIBEL (Seedne Bujaidar). By weaving together real memory and reflection with the sights and sounds of a country still taboo to many, SOMBRAS DE AZUL becomes a unique cinematic elegy, which reflects on one of life’s great ironies – that if living and dying are one and the same, then to grow close to someone is to open yourself to pain, and to love is to suffer.

The film begins 8000 feet in the air, as Maribel looks out her airplane window over the passing Cuban landscape, lost in thought. Her ticket is one-way, her plans hastily-made and indefinite; facts unearthed by the host of the Casa Particular where she’s staying. When she calls home, her mother answers in a panic, distraught and missing her daughter desperately. Asked why she’s in Cuba, Maribel responds, “Carlos always wanted to come here.”

Maribel begins to explore Havana with her camera. With each observation and encounter, she is reminded of Carlos, the brother whom she idolized, and a tormented inner monologue hounds her wanderings. Walking down a busy street, Maribel sees a man with a guitar across his back – a vision
of Him. She rushes to follow, but loses the apparition as he disappears into a café.

Returning to wander, she encounters a young man – EUSEBIO (Yasmani Guerrero) – who offers to take her picture. She agrees, and he takes off running with her camera. As she chases after, a bystander knocks the thief to the ground. Maribel rips the camera out of Eusebio’s hands, shouting “I’ve lost enough without your help!” before storming off. Stunned, Eusebio picks up the list of destinations she left behind.

Back at the Casa, Maribel meets ALISSA (Charlotta Mohlin), a Swedish ex-patriot who pulls her into Havana’s nightlife. Amidst the music and dancing strangers, Maribel briefly forgets her pain. While visiting the National Museum, Maribel is shocked to encounter Eusebio. She threatens to call the police, but he apologizes furiously, and gives her a handmade wooden box with her list inside. Determined and persuasive, he insists that he act as her guide in Cuba. Finally taken by his
sincerity, she accepts.

Roaming the city together, Maribel and Eusebio share a day of quiet companionship. With time, she begins to face her demons, and reveals to Eusebio that just days prior, her brother took his own life. Intent on helping her grieve, he takes her to see a Santera, who advises her to visit a Catholic church and to “steal a mass” in order to free her brother’s spirit.

The pair grow closer, and Eusebio surprises Maribel with wooden crosses to stake in her brother’s memory. She suggests they leave Havana. Placing the mementos as they travel, Eusebio asks for a favor: that they head to the town of Remedios. Once there, Maribel discovers Eusebio’s true reason for the trip: to visit his estranged brother, ARTURO (Lieter Ledesma). After a night of drinking and dancing, she finds her feelings for Eusebio overpowering, and moves to kiss him. Out of respect – and
despite his attraction – he stops her, and excuses himself for the night.

Leaving Remedios, Maribel visits a church, whispering “Carlos” as a priest recites names of the dead. Back in Havana, she tells Eusebio that she must go home to be with her family. He offers to stay the night, and Maribel must make a difficult choice: of whether to pursue this new love or return to her obligations; of whether she's ready to open herself up to intimacy - and to the potential of loss - once again.

Showtimes

Saturday, December 6 / 12:00pm

Galleria JFK Cinema Theatre 5

Friday, December 12 / 1:45pm

Pink Sands Resort

Credits

Director

Kelly Daniela Norri (attending)

Screenwriter

Kelly Daniela Norris

Producers

Elena Molina, Seemant Menon, Travis Pittman

Principal Cast

Alejandro Cuba, Charlotta Mohlin, Lieter Ledesma, Maria Elena Zambrano, Roberto Gacio, Seedne Bujaidar, Yasmani Guerrero

Language

Spanish (English Subtitles)


T +242 698 1800

leslie@bintlfilmfest.com


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