Boccaccerias Habaneras

The last Arturo Sotto film of the festival, this one from 2014. It continues in his depiction of Cuba as full of shagging and domestic chaos.

I kinda thought with this one being a more recent film it wouldn’t have the same gapingly problematic nature as stuff from the 90s, especially in its treatment of women, but no. I don’t know if that’s Arturo or if that’s Cuba. Obviously it’s a comedy, so it’s gonna be a light-hearted take on sex, but even still, there’s plenty of scenes that are a big clanging yikes.

Anyway it’s an anthology of comical stories told through the framework of citizens of Havana trying to sell their story to a writer who will put them in a novel or film. There, he judges their worth and pays according to his estimation of their value. The writer is played by Arturo Sotto himself, the film’s writer and director, so as to make the obvious metaphor more obvious.

This first story is of a couple of harassed parents who try to keep their daughter’s wedding day from flying from the rails. Beset by increasing misfortune on the morning of the wedding, the chances of getting through the ceremony start to dim. A funny little farce, in which a every member of a the family is a horny hot disaster.

The second film is of two bungling crooks who attempt to flog a stolen antique trunk, not realising there’s a guy passed out in inside, inebriated. After being chased by the cops, and hoodwinked by hookers, and scammed by gangsters, they finally unload the trunk for barely any cash, and are stuffed when the buyer tries to leave the country, causing the sleeping occupant to be charged as an illegal stowaway.

The last film is of a femme fatale, who tells the story of how she blackmails a university student into sex after falsely accusing him of sexual harassment in the workplace. Yeah, I know. The writer likes this story best, pumps her, and sends her off with a Modigliani hanging on his wall. Ew.

I find the writer character insufferable, and this is maybe my least favourite of Arturo’s films. The comedy works in some of the stories better than others, but it just didn’t do much for me.