El Medico:The Cubaton Story (Daniel Fiell 2011): Cuba/Sweeden/Estonia/finland

Reviewed by Linda Sweatt. Viewed at the metro Theatre, Santa Barbara film Festivale 2012.

 El Medico: The Cubaton Story takes us on a wonderful authentic trip into the heart of Cuba, as this is a true story. If you have never been and you want to go, this is your chance! I am personally fascinated with  Cuba and felt like I was on a guided tour. We, the viewers, are taken into the beautiful landscape, on to the city streets as well as inside of the their homes. Many layers of contradiction and contrasts  live within this beautiful country: East meets west, Communism versus capitalism, tradition versus progress, family versus business. These are some of the main issues that both Cuba and the main character are struggling with today.

This is a journey of joy and struggle , of a young man finding his own voice. The film introduces the young doctor El Medico by following him around as he visits his patients in rural mountain villages. Laughing with children and the elderly we see his genuine compassion and his personal connections on his daily rounds.

Then we get  background historical information of both Cuba and his family.  His parents were poster children of the Cuban Revolution working with Fidel Castro. We hear beautiful reggae music against scenes of brutality and violence of the revolution. El Medico joined the military to become a doctor and serve his country and his parents are very proud. But his life takes a serious twist when he also starts to pursue his love of music as a singer. He meets up with a Swedish western music producer and begins performing and making music videos. This creates a huge conflict  with his family his country and also within himself.

El Medico has a very funny yet tragic relationship with his mother who wants him to respect the revolution and continue working for the people as a doctor and she does not want him to pursue a musical career.But El Medico also sees his music as being political towards social service. In Cuba men must have permission from their mothers, this is very important. One of my favorite scenes is when he is on stage at a big concert performing a personal love song to his own mother. Basically he pours his heart out pleading for his mothers blessing as he is embarking on musical stardom. It is unique to see a man leaving himself so vulnerable and exposed in public. I have the feeling this is one of the genuine treasures of Cuba itself!

So many different issues are explored in this story, giving us glimpses into Cuban dance, music, politics and family traditions. But also exploring the darker side of the  western music industry of exploitation, pornography and morality. In the end El Medico must choose for himself and his country. This one young man has allot of responsibility on his shoulders and it is admirable to see him develop his own integrity. I would highly recommend this film, it will be enjoyed by a very diverse audience.

 

 

 

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