The Strawberry Tree (2011) 1h 11min · Documentary · 19 November 2011
Testing the boundaries between anthropology, documentary and reverie, the film is a mesmerizing cinematic poem that portrays with rigorous restraint the final sigh of one of Cuba's last fishing villages. Besides the introductory sequence, the film was entirely shot in the remote hamlet of Juan Antonio, only weeks before it disappeared at the hands of a hurricane. Located where Columbus first set anchor in his 1492 discovery of the New World, the village hosted a singular fishing community, where traits and habits of the Taìno indigenous population had survived and mixed with those of the Spanish colonizers. The film primarily focuses on the daily routines of two families, Silva Ocampo and Silva Vidal, while they prepare for Children's Day and the next day's fishing expedition. Their ingeniousness and resilience, as well as their playful and irreverent attitude toward the filmmaker, provide a continuous source of reflection and amusement. The filmmaker's initial prominence slowly fades through the course of the film, leaving space to the tension between the village and its ultimate fate. Through a candid observation of the villagers and of the peculiar relationship that develops between them and the filmmaker, the film renders a sensitive portrait of a unique culture into a meditation on documentary filmmaking and on humanity on the edge of time. - Written by Ibidem Films
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