Conducta Cuba 2014 – 108min.
On the rooftops of Havana, Chala raises pigeons and fight dogs, the only escape he has from daily life, with an alcoholic and drug-addicted mother who is incapable of giving him what he needs. Left to himself, he clicks with Carmela, his aging teacher and a benevolent mother figure who saves him from completely falling into the underworld. But when she has a heart attack, Chala’s fragile equilibrium is threatened.
Cuban director Enrique Pineda Barned perfectly summed up Behavior as “a film our country needs.” Nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar this year, Ernesto Daranas’s movie must be looked at within its context of an industry that is trying to get over the Cuban Revolution. Praised at film festivals around the world, Behavior is the perfect underdog in the auteur category, with its disenchanted vision of a country and its people, of the everyday violence it inflicts onto its children, and its underlying criticism of the system. There are no real surprises nor great deeds in this sensitive but inoffensive movie, which suffers due to a screenplay and rhythm that are both weak, but which demonstrates that Cuban film is alive and kicking.