Concoction / Mejunje

Mejunje: a mix of various ingredients to form a substance.” Director Juan Manuel Gamazo, Spanish, educated in Cuba, makes the cultural centre in the Cuban town of Santa Clara the focus of his film, and invites us into the lives of a variety its patrons, ordinary people who help to make up the great cultural and social melting pot that is Cuba. The examination is intense and intimate capturing, through small gestures, the textures of everyday life and Gamazo establishes a perspective that steers well clear of both the critiques and the idealisations that are common in films that try to anatomise Cuban society.

What comes across powerfully is the need of the people to communicate, through music and other means, interpreted with insight and respect by the director in a quiet observational style that allows him to avoid a glib overview and, instead, delve deeply into the experiences of his subjects, perhaps even offering them new modes of expression in the process.

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