Skip to main content

PLAFF!

Cuba, 1988 (MIFF 1989)

Director: Juan Carlos Tabio

From the minute the projector rolls, it is obvious Plaff! is an original venture. Using satire, cinema jokes and a running gag a la Murder on the Orient Express, it's the best Cuban film this decade.

The story finds us deeply involved in the quotidian problems of Concha (admirably played by veteran actress Daisy Granados) Her life was fine until her son Jose Ramon married Clarita and brought her home to live. Now Concha can't seem to get along with anyone — family, neighbours or friends. At the film's core is a mystery: Who is tossing eggs at Concha's house? (The film's onomatopoeic title refers to the sound of an egg hitting the house )

Plaff! lampoons 'santeria' (Cuba's unofficial Afro-based religion), daily Cuban problems such as the housing shortage, family relations and bureaucracy m a lighthanded fashion, while also calling mocking attention to the filmmaking process Glitches, sloppy editing, missed cues, end-of-reel over-exposed film, clapboards and other filmmaking In-jokes figure in the jumpy narrative making for humorous results.

Plaff'! calls to mind the bold celluloid efforts that launched Cuba's entry into world cinema in the early '60s. It's a breath of fresh air after many of the heavy-handed ventures that have characterised recent Cuban productions

Beyond the broad comic style of the action, however, ties a provocative critique of post-revolutionary Cuba; the film depicts a world in which, despite the outward appearances of harmony and social progress, racial, class and sexual tensions are seething below the surface, ready to be manifested at the sign of disruption.

See also...

Sloppy Worker

Enrique Colina specialises in short satirical documentaries with a wicked sense of humour. Here, he examines the poor quality of Cuban products and services - even the film labs it seems!- (TB) ... More »

THE LAST SUPPER

This is the first colour film from Cuban director Tomas Alea, who made Memories of Underdevelopment in 1968. His latest film is about a negro slave revolt on a sugar plantation in the late eighteenth ... More »

SALSA

Presented by Isak Delgado - himself the latest hot property in Cuban salsa - this immense­ly entertaining documentary relates the story of the Latino music craze that swept the US from the 1930s ... More »

Quinoscopio

'Quino' is the contracted form of Joaquin, the first name of a caricaturist who is well known and loved throughout Latin America. ... "The film is not only graphically accomplished, its gags are also ... More »

Sobre un Primer Combate

On 4 March. 1960, the French vessel. La Coubre, bringing ammu¬nition. mysteriously exploded in Havana's harbour. Castro attributed the cause to sabotage on the part of powers hostile to his ... More »

A GIRLFRIEND FOR DAVID

Una Novia Para David captures the situation of a young kid who leaves his village in 1966 to go to the University of Havana with a typical Cuban graffiti style, fast pacing, lots af music (Beatles ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director