Film: “El regreso” [The Return] premieres in Havana

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Yusimí Rodríguez (Havana Times) writes about the debut film by director Blanca Rosa Blanco, “El regreso” [The Return]. Rodríguez reviews the film:

Although the Festival of New Latin American Cinema ended on December 16, these days there are still queues in the theaters of Havana. The reason is the premiere of El regreso, the first film by Cuban actress Blanca Rosa Blanco, which was first screened in the section “A Sala Llena” of the recently concluded Festival.

In her directorial debut, Blanca Rosa Blanco is practically an all-rounder, since, as well as writing the script and directing, she played the leading role, along with the seasoned Alberto Luberta, Jr.

The synopsis of El regreso is attractive: a detective (Blanca Rosa) is obsessed with a case of a convicted man who she always considered innocent (Osvaldo Doimeadiós). To try to reopen the case and prove the guilt of her main suspect (Rafael Lahera), the protagonist returns to her native Matanzas.

The police genre appeals to many people, and a good plot, as well as a good cast (completed by Yadier Fernández, Yazmín Gómez, Yaité Ruiz, and Carlos Enrique Almirante, along with the special performances of Verónica Lyn, Jorge Martínez, and the aforementioned Doimeadiós) are important ingredients to entertain the public. This was precisely Blanco’s main objective, according to a television interview.

She indeed succeeded, because El regreso is highly entertaining and the audience applauds it enthusiastically. Personally, just because I like the detective genre, I missed the necessary tension for a film of that kind to keep me interested from beginning to end. The film becomes predictable half way though, and on several occasions, I had a feeling of déjà vu—I had already seen it, but better accomplished.

It is one of the risks when filming a police film: many, there have been very good ones made. Repeating solutions may become an unconscious, unavoidable act. Worse still, some solutions in this case are not very believable and seem to be pulled out of a hat, like the second gun that our bold detective brandishes.

What also conspires against the director-scriptwriter-protagonist is that she covered so much in her first experience as a director. Her performance in front of the camera shows the work that has consecrated her as one of the best Cuban actresses of the last decades, although this is not one of the most demanding characters she has had to embody.

Rafael Lahera, on the other hand, gets the best out of his character and responds to the demands of the script. El regreso is also a return for this magnificent actor, who we had stopped seeing on the big screen in recent years. The work of Yazmín Gómez is as convincing as we expected.

Despite the dissatisfaction that the film left me, I am grateful that Blanca Rosa Blanco debuted with an entertaining genre that has had scarce presence in our [national] cinema. For now, she can feel quite satisfied that her first feature film managed to please the majority. [. . .]

[See trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bqDUW8uX0k.]

Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. See the original article (in Spanish) at https://havanatimesenespanol.org/?p=143263&fbclid=IwAR2APkobPn6OV9LXXk9wiDPav9f-pN2aBsjTFjhq_pdQ_-g3rCe1uCvpoRI

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