4 July 2012 by Alex Stewart
Friday 6 July sees the release of the film 7 Days in Havana, a contemporary snapshot of Cuba's capital comprising 7 chapters directed by 7 separate filmmakers that should bring this iconic, ecclectic city to people's attention.
Boasting an impressive roll-call of talent, including Benicio del Toro in his directorial debut, this seven-story anthology takes place over the course of a week and seeks to show various facets of life in Cuba's capital from the wealthy visitors and upscale hotels to the city's poorer residents and their ramshackle buildings.
Each short segment stands alone but characters reappear and themes are revistied as the disparate players ramble around Havana, its houses, labyrinthine streets and beaches, exposing the different layers of life in the capital.
In the opening short, directed by Del Toro, a naive traveller experiences a wild, rum-fuelled evening during the Havana Film Festival; the next follows Serbian director Emir Kusturica as he accepts an award from the Festival and schmoozes local musicians. Filmmaker Elia Sulieman explores the district adjacent to his upmarket hotel and contrasts the two worlds, whilst other shorts look at the plight of Cubans seeking to escape the island, struggling to make ends meet and going about their daily business. All the while Havana stars in the background and local musicians provide a pulsating soundtrack.
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