Yanelys Nuñez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES — I went to see Marylin Solaya’s Vestido de Novia (“Wedding Dress”) with high expectations, after hearing much praise for the film during its screening at the Havana Film Festival last December.
I recently saw it (without having to wrestle past murderous crowds of people) at the Multicine Infanta theater, and my expectations met with profound disappointment.
A Cuban film that addresses the issue of homosexuality in the 1990s from our present perspective is a very courageous undertaking in and of itself.
But art requires more than just good intentions, and the film has a number of shortcomings I want to point out.
First of all, the film shows a lack of subtlety which is reflected in a number of tired cliches (the corrupt and macho government official that turns out to be a homosexual is one of them).
Slogans, symbols, attitudes – these images, which ought to have helped create the atmosphere of 1990s Cuba, are overwhelmingly repeated at different artistic events and ultimately only make the story poorer.
As for the script, there are unresolved plot lines – not of the kind that leaves the spectator with several different possibilities and questions, but mere omissions of information that are relevant to the story.
How can a man in a discriminatory, male chauvinist and prejudiced Cuba manage to get a sex-change operation?
We simply don’t know because the film doesn’t tell us.
This holds for other situations which leave the audience disconcerted, unable to fully understand the film narrative.
As for the acting, it was excellent. The cast was made up of artists of unbelievable talent.
Acting alone, however, does not make a film powerful, for it leaves us merely with a handful of good scenes that could not be brought together into a quality product.
What saddens me most about Vestido de Novia is that it only scratches the surface of an issue that was and continues to be controversial, and that it loses its way in its attempt to raise our awareness about these realities.