So Far Away Juan Carlos Tabio

BY Kathleen OlmsteadPublished Nov 17, 2016

Movies about movies can be enjoyable but they usually border on the pretentious. There's little that's more annoying than filmmakers who think they're clever — they're only a step above music video directors who think Van Halen's "Right Now" was groundbreaking. This is just one of the reasons why So Far Away stands out; it's about writing and movies but it doesn't fall into the usual traps. Tabio has the knack for mixing pathos and humour — as seen in Strawberry and Chocolate and Guantanamera — while including the ambiguity of politics, also his characters are immediately likable and we're thrown right into the action. So Far Away plays on Cuban stereotypes — openly mocks them, in fact — while telling an open and fun story, as Tabio tricks you with convention. The story moves from Havana to Madrid and back again, as two actors turned producers and a screenwriter try to form the perfect project. Their personal histories and the changes in Cuba over the past 30 years infuse their stories — Luisa lost a lover to America after the revolution; Carlos left for Spain and a new life. So Far Away plays out different scenarios — the fears and wishes of each character — as they each let their imagination run wild, and what they can't admit in real life, they can express in their art. Although there are some weighty subjects in So Far Away — can we recapture youth, fix our mistakes? — it's not a weighty film. It moves quickly through stories then back to the main characters. But Even if all the twists aren't surprises, they're always enjoyable. (Tornasol)

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