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REALENGO 18

Cuba, 1961 (MIFF 1962)

Director: Oscar Torres

The title of the film refers to a tract of land in Oriente province. The story concerns an uprising of guajiros against an American-run company's attempt to seize their land. Tete Vergara, a Negro actress, plays the mother of a young man who tires of their hard life on the land, joins the army and later returns as a soldier to expel his own people. The mother cannot be shaken—neither by the arrogant American, nor the Cuban soldiers, who come on horseback to evict her. In the exciting climax, the soldiers ride towards the ridge of a hill where the now-armed farmers stand in a long unwavering line. They walk their horses forward slowly as the guajiros begin to move down the hillside. The soldiers lose their nerve; the son remains with them despite his mother's plea and she is left alone to find consolation in her love of the land.

"Realengo I8", as a convincing film without studio artificiality, is one of the best Cuban features. Tete Vergara's performance is appealing and competent and the film is further enhanced by superb landscape photography.

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