Cuban stars of winning Tribeca Film Festival feature defect

Text & Photos:
Francisco Collazo

Director Lucy Molloy (holding microphone) at Tribeca Film Festival
Director Lucy Molloy (holding microphone) at Tribeca Film Festival

Being Cuban, I always keep an eye out for films about/from my country during the many film festivals held in New York City every year. Film festivals like the Havana Film Festival of New York, the HBO International Latino Film Festival, and the Tribeca Film Festival offer oppportunities to see movies from and about Cuba that would otherwise be difficult–if not impossible–to see.

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival featured the film “Una Noche,” summarized by the festival as follows:

“Fed up with living in poverty while catering to a privileged tourist class, Cuban teens Raul and Elio are tantalized by the idea of fleeing the confines of their broken-down country for a new life in Miami. When Raul is accused of assaulting a foreigner, he has no choice but to escape, but Elio must decide whether his desire for freedom and helping Raul are worth abandoning his beloved twin sister, Lila. Brimming with the nervous energy of Havana’s restless youth and the evocative cinematography of the sun-bleached capital, Una Noche follows one sweltering day, full of hope and fraught with tension, that burns to a shocking climax.”

Director Lucy Molloy, who is not Cuban, spent years living in country to make the film.
I attended the premiere of the film at the Tribeca Film Festival, and was looking forward to interviewing Molloy and several of the actors, who had come from Cuba especially for the occasion. The only problem was… two of the main actors didn’t show up.

In the days following the film festival, days during which “Una Noche” was celebrated for having won several awards, the actors, who had been declared “missing” by the press, reappeared. And the media buzzed with the fact that the actors’ lives were mirroring the characters they played.

You can read more about the defection here.