22 January 2013 | Quinoa1984
true whimsy, with a Cuban kick.
Havana in Bushwick has a character who doesn't speak, played by Larry Costa (who can be quite expressive, even or perhaps most in the subtlest moments), but don't let that deter you from seeing this. This character, Jesus Garcia, is 'transported' by a woman into a sort of nether-region where, inspired by Cuba and Havana in particular, can find some creative spark. Then heart of this short film is that it's about what its character is swept up in: finding imagination, or rather having imagination find you. The character also goes to a party on a roof-top (featuring some wonderful singing, with a really exquisite Latin flavor via Audrey Lorea and her musical back-up, she's in a dual role by the way), and here Gabe Rodriguez peppers his style of comic irreverence.
I wouldn't have noticed it so much except it seems to come back in his work - the "voice" in the limbo/hell room in Susie in the Afterlife, or the agent in Q to the 6 Train. Rodriguez has these little characters (Victoria Weinberg in this case, very funny), but then doesn't forget to level this off with the surreal aspects of the story. It's got the flavor of Fellini and Looney Tunes, and to good effect - hell, it even has time to make a diversion with a *Russian* Muse in the nether-region scenes (and thankfully so as Dasha Kittredge, for her brief screen time, is awesome, one of the best cameos of the year), but without it feeling too extraneous. It jumps around and feels loose by design, but it can move from moment and moment and shot to shot like the music that accompanies it: smooth, stylish, and a spirit that hearkens back to Cuba but without pretentiousness. Or, to put it another way, what if Chuck Jones got plopped into Hipster-ish Brooklyn and had to re-imagine I Am Cuba in ten minutes?
In short, it's a lot of fun.