Day of the Flowers
(Rogue Elephant Pictures)
Director: John Roberts
★★★ (Out of 5)
THOUGH links between Disneyland and Australia’s outback seem remote, those between Cuba and Scotland are much closer.
For many Cuba is the socialistic super model, its capital Havana twinned with Glasgow, crucible of the historic Red Clydeside movement.
This socialist sensibility flavours the tone in the comedy Day of the Flowers, in which Dublin-born Eva Birthistle plays Rosa, a humble Glasgow idealist with fire in her belly who demands a better life for all.
Opposite Rosa is her sister Ailie, played by the colourfully-monikered Charity Wakefield, a goodtime gal who wears Prada fashions and struts around on towering Manolo Blahnik heels.
When the two women meet for the funeral of their father, a hero of Castro’s revolution, it sets in motion a plot that takes them to Cuba intent on spreading their father’s ashes.
What follows is a tangled story that tries to interweave the rom-com genre with a stranger-in-a-strange-land narrative and give realistic glimpses of Cuban life along the way – dirt-poor streets, lavishly sexy nightclubs.
When the urn containing their father’s remains is impounded by stone-faced officials, the sisters find themselves going in search of their old-man’s history and uncovering parts buried of their family roots.
There’s enough stylish action to keep viewers engaged, if not quite deeply enthralled, and international ballet star Carlos Acosta makes a solid debut as a handsome local hero.
The screen tension between the sisters is convincing and the scales are seen falling from Rosa’s eyes as she views the darker side of Cuba’s so-called Utopia. Yet, there are about six story strands too many and they all dangle loosely at the end.
Still, the camera expressly captures views of Cuba’s landscape and the rumba/salsa soundtrack is richly intoxicating. Light drama – enjoyable stuff.