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REVIEW: ‘Santa Y Andres’ History, Drama, And The Cinematic Middle Finger.

History and drama collide on screen in the second feature from Cuban Director Carlos Lechuga (literal translation: lettuce). Santa Y Andres is a film about the great divides between people caused by politics. But more importantly, the film is about the similarities we all share as humans. Santa Y Andres is a movie that works powerfully on some levels but misses the mark on others. Overall, it’s an entertaining two hours set in a time and place few rarely get to see.

A picture like this, though, relies on two crucial things:
writing and performance.

Santa Y Andres tells the story of an unlikely pair forced together by circumstances greater than the both of them. Andres (Eduardo Martinez) is an author living in exile. Andres is at odds with the Cuban government of 1983 and as a counter-revolutionary is no longer allowed a life, much less his own as someone who spreads the “wrong” ideas. Santa (Lola Amores) is a young woman, longing for companionship and finding it only in serving the oppressive government led by Dictator Fidel Castro. Santa is ordered to keep watch over Andres while a political meeting takes place. The government wants to make sure Andres and his banned ideas stay hidden.

Director Lechuga deftly moves the camera throughout the film, focusing attention on what viewers need to see. The choices for music in Santa Y Andres are fantastic too. A picture like this, though, relies on two crucial things: writing and performance. Both Martinez and Amores deliver powerful performances, embodying their characters flawlessly. However, the script leaves both characters a little short of being truly compelling. Andres is hardened by having his life stolen from him, Martinez portrays this perfectly throughout, but Andres ends the film at nearly the same point. The lack of development for Andres has the effect of rendering the character a little flat. On the flip side, Santa is rich and fascinating, she’s a woman torn between powerful forces. But some of the more interesting nuances of her character come too late.

Martinez and Amores shared the Best Actor prize at the Miami International Film Festival for their performances. The dynamic between Santa and Andres is what drives this film forward. Andres spends nights secretly working on a book while Santa believes she can free herself from government and into the arms of her lover. However, betrayal is also an important part of this story. Andres was betrayed by his country, and Santa soon learns the feeling all too well herself. The world forced these two together, and perhaps it’s fate, as they need each other more than they ever realized.

Santa Y Andres doesn’t always come together as it could have but is very much worth a watch. The film’s narrative is a unique blend of history and drama in a severely isolated country. Both lead performers and Lechuga’s direction carry the film, keeping it moving, and never letting it become a heavy-handed critique of the Cuban government. However, with that said, the Cuban government still went ahead and banned the film away. So, maybe this isn’t the kind of movie you look for, but it’s an excellent way to flip the cinematic bird at a ruthlessly oppressive regime.

Santa Y Andres TRAILER

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Ruben Diaz
Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.

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REVIEW: 'Santa Y Andres' History, Drama, And The Cinematic Middle Finger.History and drama collide on screen in the second feature from Cuban Director Carlos Lechuga (literal translation: lettuce). Santa Y Andres is a film about the great divides between people caused by politics. But more importantly, the film is about the similarities we all...