Miami Film Society Members Take In Dramatic Journey Set in Havana

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l to r: Q&A with director Lucy Mulloy, lead actors Javier Núñez Florián and Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre, MIFF managing director & senior programmer Andres Castillo, MIFF executive director Jaie Laplante

The latest Miami Film Society special event screening kept the packed house glued to their seats as a result of the undeniable talent of London-born, New York-based screenwriter and director Lucy Mulloy, who was in attendance, along with lead actors Anailín de la Rua de la Torre and Javier Núñez Florián.

In her dramatic feature film debut, Una noche, Mulloy captures the pulse of modern day Cuba through the eyes of people whose nostalgia for the Revolution continues to fade, with the passage of time, along with their dreams.  As the credits rolled at last Tuesday’s exclusive Members Only special event screening at Paragon Grove, it felt as though the entire audience had been to Cuba on some level, and experienced a connection with the characters, feeling emotionally touched by them in some way.

Casting for the film was intense as Mulloy saw over 2,000 people, which she did as a street-casting, by distributing loads of fliers, word of mouth, people meeting other people and getting them to come to auditions. She spent a number of weekends just doing improvisations with people, with lines of people snaking all the way down the street. 

Mulloy immediately recognized the raw talent in her three lead actors: Dariel Arrechaga, Anailín de la Rua de la Torre and Javier Núñez Florián (who play brother and sister in the film.) The teenage trio come together and powerfully change one another in the story, as Mulloy captures the pulse of Cuba’s restless youth with a remarkable juxtaposition to the decaying architecture of Havana.

Una noche is a labor of love six years in the making.  It stemmed from a short film idea Mulloy had while living in Cuba for a year and listening to people’s stories, whose circumstances and perspectives within the context of their society are all very different. Mulloy is not interested in telling people what to think about Cuba, but more in exploring the characters’ journeys.

Did the actors follow the script too closely? Una noche made international news last year when de la Torre and Florián, en route to the Tribeca Film Festival, disappeared following a layover in Miami. They sought political asylum and are currently living in Las Vegas and expecting twins. This is where a movie can transform lives completely, beyond even the actors’ wildest dreams.

Una noche —Havana… a tourist’s playground… far from paradise— begins an exclusive Miami engagment at MDCulture Art Cinema at Koubek Theater on Friday, August 23rd.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti

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Jaie Laplante

Jaie Laplante is the Miami Film Festival's executive director and director of programming. Learn more about Jaie on Programmers.