May 12, 2006


Andy Garcia's labor of love comes to fruition (LAURA EMERICK, 5/12/06, Chicago Sun-Times)

"My parents went through a journey similar to the one in the movie," said Garcia, speaking from his CineSon production offices in California. "But 'The Lost City' is really a homage to the culture and music of Cuba, to the end of a way of life. It depicts an era of sociopolitical change while showcasing the music and culture of Cuba. But my movie is no more political than 'Traffic' or 'Dr. Zhivago,'" he said, referring to two other movies that set personal dramas against a backdrop of social or political upheaval.

But "The Lost City" does have an interesting political pedigree of sorts. It was written by Guillermo Cabrera-Infante, one of Cuba's greatest literary figures, whose parents founded the Communist Party there. He eventually fell out of favor with Castro and, in the mid-'60s, went into exile. Garcia, who calls Cabrera-Infante "the brightest man I ever met in my life," sent him a rough cut of the movie shortly before his death in February 2005. "He was very pleased with the final product."

Cabrera-Infante also worked his way into "The Lost City" via the character of the Writer, played by Bill Murray, who "serves as a sort of Shakespearean fool or Greek chorus to comment on the absurdities of the time." (Of Murray, who worked for a fraction of his usual salary, Garcia said, "Bill called it the most extraordinary part he ever read.")

In "The Lost City," the Writer turns up mysteriously in the nightclub of Federico "Fico" Fellove (Garcia), the eldest son of an upper-class Cuban family torn apart by the coming revolution. While his younger brothers Luis (Nestor Carbonell) and Ricardo (Enrique Murciano of CBS' "Without a Trace") decide to join the revolutionary cause, Fico remains apolitical, observing the unrest from his safe haven, El Tropico -- modeled on Havana's famous Tropicana, where Cuban legends such as Beny More once performed.

If your spouse sends you out to rent a flick this weekend, try his Arturo Sandoval biopic, For Love or Country

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2006 9:39 AM

I never understood why Garcia did not become a bigger star. He seemed to be primed for big stardom in the early '90s, but none of his vehicles became a truly big hit.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at May 12, 2006 11:59 AM

By coincidence, For Love or Country is in the mail to me today from Netflix.

Posted by: Rick T. at May 12, 2006 12:03 PM

From the reviews I've read, The Lost City seems like an excellent film but unfortunately is only showing on a limited number of movie screens. I hope the DVD comes out soon.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 12, 2006 5:06 PM

Leftist critics have savaged the film, probably because of its unflattering portrait of Che.

Posted by: George at May 12, 2006 5:39 PM

Chris, I also wondered why Garcia seemed to drop off the radar. Now it's clear. He's an apostate, so he's not getting any parts. Haven't seen Ron Silver on the silver screen lately either.

Posted by: erp at May 12, 2006 7:35 PM