“The Lost City” is a movie which tackles the situation of Cuba during the time of the pre-revolution up to the time of Fidel Castro. The setting is in Havana in the year 1958, and the story is about Fico Fellove, the main character portrayed by Andy Garcia. Fico is the owner of the night club called El Tropico, which is known to be one of the classiest clubs in Havana at that time. This presentation of Havana depicted the economic and social status enjoyed by the Cubans before the outbreak of the revolution.
Cuba then was one of the more advanced countries in Latin America with a low mortality rate, and high literacy rate. Being a small country with a relatively small population, Cuba was one of the most highly-educated races in the region with a rich gold reserve and abundant natural resources. Everything looked promising for the country until the rebels slowly gained more and more adherents because of the dictatorship led by Fulgencio Batista, the president of Cuba during the said year.
Fico’s club is doing well at the beginning of the movie, and everything seems to be peaceful and harmonious. At Sunday dinners, Fico’s family would all gather at their family house to spend time to bond together and catch up on each other’s lives. During this Sunday dinner, however, tension would rise as one of Fico’s brothers, Ricardo, would bring up the idea of revolution as a response to the increasing political unrest in Cuba. Ricardo believed in the revolutionary ideology and becomes part of the rebels who would go against the government forces.
Another brother, Luis, is randomly arrested for publicizing anti-government sentiments. Meanwhile, Fico still tried to remain as neutral as possible. The aforementioned situations are reflective of Cuba’s situation immediately before the revolution. The arrests were made in an effort to quell civilian unrest or possibly to strike fear on those who are contemplating on following the rebel ideology. Social and economic conditions declined as a result of these uprisings as the political instability in the country continued to worsen.
Soon, however, Fulgencio Batista realizes that his government’s future was bleak so he says goodbye to Cuba and flees to the Dominican Republic leaving the country in turmoil. On the second week of 1959, Fidel Castro assumes the presidency and another dictatorship ascends to power. Both events – the fleeing of Batista and the assumption of Castro are shown in the movie. Luis is killed by pro-Batista forces. Aurora, the wife of Luis, finds a shoulder-to-cry-on in Fico, and eventually, they fall in love.
On the other hand, Ricardo moves on to become one of the high-ranking leaders of Fidel de Castro. The new dictatorship under Castro is more eager to assume power and control over the economy so they grab lands, businesses and property in the guise of saying that it was for the government, which actually took place and is manifested in Cuba’s historical records. Fico’s club is slowly taken control of and the tobacco farm of their uncle is taken by force by no less than Ricardo himself. His uncle tries to assert his rights over his land and dies as a result of his anger against Ricardo.
Ricardo goes to his uncle’s funeral rites, gets a reprimand from every member of the family, is labeled a “disgrace” by his father and eventually commits suicide. With the increasing tension in Cuba, Fico’s father suggests that he (Fico) should leave immediately before it was too late, since their family had already seen too much loss. With much hesitation, Fico agrees to his father’s suggestion and he goes to the U. S. to seek refuge. Fico leaves a ticket for Aurora, but she does not show up at the airport. At first, Fico gets employed as a dishwasher at a club, then later on as the pianist.
Aurora finally shows up in the US when Fico is already regaining his self-worth and enjoying his freedom. It is only when he is called upon by Meyer Lansky (Dustin Hoffman) to operate the “Fico’s El Tropico” club in New York that Fico truly recovers the happiness he thought he had already lost. The situation in Cuba has not changed much after Castro became the country’s leader and has remained almost the same since then. Education and healthcare have become government priorities but the curtailment of people’s freedom of expression as well as the harassment of anti-government proponents still persists.
The country is still under a socialist government, or adheres to communism and it continues to maintain anti-U. S. sentiments as a result of Castro’s predominant leanings. As a whole, the movie “The Lost City” captured the overall scenario of the Cuban situation during the period tackled. It is a movie which is worth watching because it accurately represents the revolution and its possible effects on a specific family, in this case, the Fellove family. It also tackles the theme of love and how it can succeed despite all odds. Notes
Courtney from Study Moose
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