Friday, May 26, 2017

Horn of Plenty

El cuerno de la abundancia; comedy / drama, Cuba, 2008; D: Juan Carols Tabio, S: Jorge Perugorria, Annia Bu Maure, Laura De Ia Uz, Enrique Molina, Paula Ali, Yoima Valdes

Bernardito Castineiras, an engineer living in a small Cuban village, is married to Marthica and they have a child together, but are unhappy with their low income, noticeable in their old home. One day, they hears of news of an inheritance which was left by nuns for every member of the Castineiras family, whose grandfathers protected them from pirates and have since then deposited the gold to Britain, which corresponds to 123 billion $. Hundreds of people with the family name Casteineiras apply to claim the inheritance, among them Bernardito who travels to Havana, and has an affair with Zobeida, a woman who works with him. However, in the end, an American brought the bank and thus the money is blocked due to the US embargo against Cuba. Bernardito reconciles with Marthica and they deicde to keep waiting for the inheritance.

"Horn of Plenty" is an uneven comedy that took a completely wrong direction from its initial premise and thus strayed away from all the rich possibilities for humor: instead of focusing on timeless themes of human greed and selfishness for wealth, as well as exaggerated antics that stem from these, reminiscent of Moliere's classic "The Miser", it bizarrely and puzzlingly persistently refuses to do so and spends more time on Bernardito's affair with Zobeida as well as his marriage with Marthica. The storyline is overstretched and thin, scarce with humor, and when it finally delivers, the humor is again not about the people expecting an inheritance, but about Bernardito's sex scenes: just as their kid goes out of the house, Marthica shuts the door and immediately takes her clothes off to sleep with Bernardito in bed, but they are interrupted when his mother enters the house. In another scene, Bernardito tries to have sex with Zobeida while sitting on the flush toilet, but due to all the shaking, it breaks and a stream of water erupts beneath them. Even worse, the idea of the inheritance is strangely abandoned in the ending which just stopped the plot without resolving it, leaving the characters (and the viewers) frustrated by having to wait what will happen, but then it ends. This is an incomplete ending. Many golden opportunities were missed: since hundreds of people from the Casteinerias family claim the huge fortune, why not have them fight against each other? Why not have them clash or try to dispute each others' last name? The only good joke is that they spend some money on a wedding expecting a fortune, only to be disappointed. The actors are all very good, though, which somewhat alleviates the overlong storyline that took too many strange paths.


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