Friday, April 7, 1:00 pm
McKnight Hall Auditorium, CONE building, Room 321, UNC Charlotte Main Campus
Director Niccolò Bruna
Cuba, Spain, Italy, 2015, 87 min.
Spanish with English subtitles
The Spanish Film Club series was made possible with the support of Pragda, SPAIN arts & culture and the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain.
Introduction by Yisel Pomier, movie and documentary director. Discussion will follow screening.
The Travel Agent narrates the intimate story of Lourdes, an ordinary but extraordinary woman. It is also an universal story; one that is made of the isolation and separation that is common to many Cubans and to anyone in the world who has been forced to be separated from the loved ones by events out of their control. The documentary was shot in the last period of the freezing relations between Cuba and the United States, during the 54th year of “bloqueo,” the economic embargo. This is also why it is a unique document, which unveils the human consequences of political choices.
From her tiny office overlooking the U.S. Interests Section, 58-year old Lourdes counsels thousands of Cubans seeking a U.S. travel visa. She coaches them on answering tricky questions, fine-tuning their stories so they have a better chance of succeeding. They come from every walk of life and from all over Cuba to unveil their own life stories at the “Oficina del amor” (Office of Love), as she’s baptized it. Despite helping others to travel, she has never been able to visit her own mother, son, brothers, grandsons, and nephews in Florida. “[I] quench the thirst of others every day, yet there is not a drop of water for me,” she says sadly. After a long wait, Lourdes’ time has finally come: her interview is set. Her dream to visit her dying mother, who emigrated during the sixties, has never been so close. Will she be able to travel and finally overturn her destiny of forced separation.
Thanks to the lively strength of the protagonist, the documentary is entirely shot in cinema verité style and the narration flows scene after scene with no interviews or voice over. The Travel Agent is a tribute to the dignity of the Cuban people, always ready to face the storm with a smile. I have told about their heroic everyday life without any folklore or filters.
At the same time, The Travel Agent carries on my personal and human exploration of the female universe.