7 Days in Havana
From Clash’s issue that was released in July.
Weaving together a contemporary view of the Cuban capital by interlinked short films from seven different directors, 7 Days in Havana is a curious proposition – other loosely similar projects have examined grand metropolises such as New York or Paris. Barely represented in film or other media, an examination of Havana is closer to a look into the unknown rather than a celebration of one of the world’s most loved cities.
The film’s seven chapters cover a huge amount of stylistic ground. Benicio del Toro’s opener is the most conventional as it follows American tourist Teddy (Hunger Games’ idol Josh Hutcherson) on a crash course of Cuban perspectives on his nationality. At the other extreme, Irreversible / Enter The Void director Gaspar Noé’s mesmerising, almost wordless short depicts a ritualistic ceremony performed on a schoolgirl to halt her attraction to other girls. The one misstep of the collection is a comically misjudged glossy erotic drama from Julio Medem.
Highlighting the city’s most popular attributes of sun, rum and scintillating sounds provides plenty to entice those eager to see Havana in person. Yet the country’s communist rule informs every narrative on display here, and ensures a work of depth rather than a glorified tourist advert.