Follow Us on Twitter

The Lost City - Preview

Andy Garcia in The Lost City

Preview by Jack Foley

LABOURS of love don’t come much more heartfelt than Andy Garcia’s The Lost City, due for release later this year.

The star of films such as Ocean’s 11 and The Godfather: Part III has spent years trying to get the project made and remains determined to generate as wide an audience as possible in spite of attempts to censor it.

Set in Havana, Cuba, during the 50’s, the film follows the fortunes of a club owner (Garica) who becomes caught in the turbulent transition from the oppressive regime of Batista to the Marxist government of Fidel Castro.

It boasts impressive credentials, having been directed by Garcia himself, and co-stars Dustin Hoffman (as Meyer Lansky), Bill Murray, Enrique (Without A Trace) Murciano, Inés Sastre and Jsu Garcia (as Che).

When it played at the recent Miami Film Festival it was a hit but the film has fallen foul of several other festivals – particularly in South America – because of the way it reportedly depicts romantic revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara in a terrible light.

Garcia, who also wrote the film, remains defiant about the film’s content, however. In an article on movie website, IMDB, he is quoted as saying: “There have been festivals that wouldn’t show it. That will continue to happen from people who don’t want to see the image of Che be tarnished and from people who support the Castro regime. He still has a lot of supporters out there.

“Some people think Castro is a savior, that he looks out for the kids and the poor. It’s a bunch of hogwash. In the 45 years since Castro came to power, Cuba has been in the top three countries for human rights abuses for 43 of those years. People turn a blind eye to his atrocities.”

The completion of the film and the subsequent controversy surrounding it means that Garcia will never be able to return to his home country. Indeed, he has not been back since leaving Cuba at the age of five.

In a nod to Casablanca (which the film is said to evoke memories of), Garcia’s nightclub owner thinks he’s apolitical until the woman he loves forces him to take sides.

As political as the film remains, however, Garcia is fiercely proud of the result, resisting attempts to trim its 143-minute running length during editing and proclaiming it to be the film he wanted it to be.

Despite only being given a limited release in America, the film should do well with critics and people who like some intelligence surrounding their projects.

Murray agreed to work for scale after telling Garcia that he wanted to be in it, even though he felt no one would see it, while Hoffman agreed to appear after Garcia attended his wedding.

Given the buzz surrounding it on the festival circuit, don’t bet against it attracting a wider release, or even awards consideration, given the strength of passion surrounding it.

For Garcia, this most personal of projects could go some way to fulfilling the early potential the star showed in films such as The Untouchables, Black Rain and Godfather: Part III, which saw him Oscar-nominated and compared to a young Pacino.

It is certainly nearing the top of our must-see list.