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BIRDS WILL FLY

Cuba, 1984 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Rolando Diaz

This is a charming comedy on a favourite new theme for Cuban filmmakers - the challenge of the growing consciousness of Cuban women towards the "machismo" traditionally cultivated in the Latin male. In unfolding this theme, however, it also manages to make some barbed observation on the generation gap and notions of the family.

Emilio and Magdalena, two young workers at the Ministry of Construction, fall in love. Emilio, the young man, lives alone with his mother; Magdalena lives with her father and grandmother. When Emilio's mother and Magdalena's father are first introduced to each other they show signs of disapproval towards the relationship which has developed between their children, and a mild confrontation between the generations ensues. Any objections to their children's relationship, however, do not prevent the parents from beginning an affair with each other.

One day when the young couple sneak into Emilio's flat, they are horrified to be caught in a compromising position by their parents. But Emilio is even more horrified to discover the nature of his mother's relationship with Magdalena's father, Felo. Meanwhile, Felo is outraged to discover that his daughter has lost her precious virginity.

When Magdalena later reveals that she is pregnant, the quarrels between the two men become so embittered that the women, sickened by the underlying hypocrisy, decide to rid themselves of both men's presence. Protesting, Felo and Emilio are driven away. Allies now, comrades-in-arms, they join together to uphold the threatened bastion of their male honour.

In his first feature, Rolando Diaz demonstrates a fine sense of comic timing, and an ability to elicit splendid performances (although Reinaldo Miravalles almost steals the show as the posturing Felo). The use of music is infectious, while the use of Havana locations is appealing and modestly effective.

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