Una noche arrives in Berlin
by Boyd van Hoeij
18/02/2012 - The first feature by UK film-maker Lucy Mulloy, Una Noche, had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival at the tail end of the event, which ended this weekend. Part of the Generation 14 Plus section, the film looks at three teenagers from Cuba who try to reach Miami on a raft they built themselves.
Unlike films with similar stories, this production is unique in that it was filmed on location in Cuba with Cuban actors and with tacit approval from the country's authorities, who attended the world premiere at the German capital's Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
Mulloy, who has made several award-winning shorts, also wrote the screenplay of Una noche, which tells the story of twins Lila (Anailin de la Rua de la Torre) and Elio (Javier Nuñez Florian), whose close bond is called into question when Elio starts hanging out with his handsome hotel-restaurant co-worker, Raul (Dariel Arrechada).
Though initially unaware what the exact nature of Elio's attract for Raul is, Lila, who is a still waters run deep-type, starts spying on them and discovers they are amassing materials to build a raft that could bridge the 90 miles that separates the socialist country from Miami, where Raul's father has disappeared to many years earlier.
Intentionally jangly to highlight the enormous disparities of the colourful country, the film juxtaposes the beautiful and the ugly, the harmonious and the dissonant, the loud and the quiet and the Cuba of tourists with that very different Cuba of the locals (the police treat the locals very badly if they interfere with the well-being of the foreigners that bring money into the country). Its editing and heterogeneous soundtrack are the main contributing factors in this study of contrasts, though the tactile cinematography is also of help.
The film was produced as a three-way co-production between Una Nocha Films London, Una Nocha Films New York and Una Nocha Films Holguin.