Directed by Lucy Mulloy. Starring Dariel Arrechaga, Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre. Light House Cinema, 6pm ****
If an entirely inept filmmaker were working on the world’s crummiest camera, they’d still have to work hard to take a bad shot in Havana. Happily, newcomer Lucy Mulloy knows precisely what to do with all that seductive haze. The young American director incorporates all the contradictions of contemporary Cuba – the lowliest favelas are brightly painted, the cars are old but oh so cool, the poorest citizens cater to wealthy western predators – into an engaging, heated coming-of-age drama.
Lila is out when her twin brother Raul develops a close friendship with local tough kid, Elio. Raul dreams of a better life in Miami and, when his best pal gets in trouble, the perilous journey across shark-invested waters looks like their only option. But will Raul be able to leave Lila behind?
Mulloy spent more than a year in Cuba researching and honing her non-professional cast. The film, however, takes place on one sweltering hot day. Don’t let the sunshine fool you. Mulloy’s Cuba is subject to draconian policing and sexually rapacious tourists. Una Noche cleverly incorporates its social conscience into an accomplished jailbreak structure.