LIFE IS WHISTLING
LIFE IS TO WHISTLE
(La Vida es Silbar)
Director Fernando Perez has enormous visual flair particularly delightful are the scenes with people keeling over en masse as psychologist Rolando Brito runs through the streets unwittingly mentioning repressed words. The love scenes have an immense sensuality there is a wonderful radiance and a wholly natural and unforced sunniness to the films various love stories. The interweave of the story and the various fabulist plot devices the mysterious taxi driver, the narrator that addresses the camera and tells us about the characters, the web of fates that is drawing everybody together at 4:44 pm on December 4th are enchanting. And the rundown buildings of Havana are shot with a ravishing beauty. If you consider that filmmaking was a suppressed medium in Cuba until only the last decade, it is something that makes the degree of artistic confidence displayed by Fernando Perez even more remarkable.
The only place the film falls down is the abrupt ending. Here the story contrives to bring the various plotlines together on the aforementioned date in Revolution Square only instead of allowing the three unrequited love stories to reach an emotional conclusion, the film has all three characters suddenly start whistling and then cuts away to the year 2020 where everybody in Cuba has learned the secret to happy living is whistling. It makes for a cute epilogue but its effect on the story is akin to a car unexpectedly slamming on its brakes suddenly at 100 mph. This is the only aspect that mars an otherwise delightful whimsy.
Fernando Perez later returned to genre material with the surreal Madrigal (2006).