Film Focus: Amor Crónico (2012)

The film follows the road trip, the adventures and the glamorous shows of CuCu Diamantes as she goes on tour in Cuba. Amor Crónico represents a project that has evolved from a simple documentary of the tour to an actual feature film. What’s more, the film portrays contemporary Cuba, its sounds and sites, its culture and humour, and brings to life a visual ode to its people.

The film blends the genres masterfully – one moment you’re watching a musical, the next one you’re in a comedy show, and eventually, you realize you’re also watching a documentary. There is also the theme of a ‘film within the film’ with all the non-professional footage mixed with the professional material and also a couple of scenes that are the product of one of the character’s imagination, yet inspired by other works of cinema, such as Casablanca.

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”Everything I do, I do with love,” says Cucu halfway through the film, ”I know my dream was to come here and sing for my country.” Born and raised in Havana, Cucu Diamantes later moved to New York to pursue a music career. The Cuban-American perfomer admits that she feels too American to go back to Cuba, and too Cuban to fully blend in America. She befriends this one little man, who eventually becomes an essential part of the tour, a man who dreams of becoming an actor and having a love story with a happy end. In other words, it’s easy to fall in love with the characters.

Amor Crónico is, in fact, a low budget production with a somewhat of $3000 in total to spend, which makes it even more down to earth, reliable and realistic. Editing, of course, adds to the glamour of the film, but everything is shot on location and often with little or no planning, some of the scenes produced in only one take. Filmed in just 27 days, but subject to the editing process for more than 2 years.

Amor Crónico stands as a true example that good cinema is not about the budget or the special effects, but the idea behind it and the meaning(s) it carries. You cannot simply define its genre but one thing is certain: it is an authentic and enjoyable contemporary representation of the culture and the music scene in Cuba. No matter what expectations you bring along before you start the film, I promise you, they will be blown away by the end of it.

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