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50th San Francisco International Film Festival at PFA

Sunday, May 6, 2007
3:00 p.m. The Sugar Curtain
Camila Guzmán Urzúa (France/Spain, 2006)

(El telón de azúcar). Born in Chile in 1971, Camila Guzmán Urzúa was the daughter of a guerrilla filmmaker, Patricio Guzmán, who would soon become one of the most notorious figures in Latin American cinema. Forced by the bloody coup to leave their native country when Camila was two, the family was welcomed in revolutionary Cuba. Camila grew up in Cuba until she left in 1990 to join her father in Paris. Now she has fashioned an eloquent lament of lost youth, with its uninhibited expressions of joy and its infinite possibilities. During her days spent in Cuba, revolutions brewed all over the world. The ideals of the martyrs of the Cuban Revolution, such as Antonio Maceo, Camilo Cienfuegos, and Che Guevara, seemed on the verge of being fulfilled. "We were building a new society, a just society," she says. "We would be astronauts, doctors, engineers, painters." But slowly, things went wrong. Support from the Soviet bloc evaporated, and the criminal U.S. blockade became more stringent. Guzmán interviews childhood friends who are now severely disillusioned. Many left Cuba and moved to Europe. "People have become materialistic," they lament. The shortcomings of the Revolution, irrelevant to a child, now loom large in their eyes. In an emotionally charged segment, she interviews her mother, who chose to stay in Cuba. Guzmán holds the Cuban Revolution to a high standard: that it live up to the ideals of her youth. One should expect nothing less. Perhaps Maceo, Camilo, and Che would have done the same.

—Miguel Pendás

• Written, Photographed by Guzmán Urzúa. (82 mins)