Things I Left in Havana (1997)

 “When you emigrate, it’s best to forget your memories.”

In the film Things I Left in Havana three very different Cuban sisters, Rosa, Ludmilla, and Nena (a budding actress) arrive in Madrid at the invitation of an aunt. The sisters arrive full of hopes and dreams for a bright future. They each want a ‘nice life,’ but unfortunately, their aunt has some different ideas about what that means. The aunt now thinks she has new employees for her business, and she even begins to plot an arranged marriage. As illegal aliens who’ve outstayed their visitor visas, the three sisters have little choice but to comply with their bullying aunt’s demands.

Enter Igor–a fellow Cuban exile who has some shady business dealings and some playboy habits….

Things I Left in Havana is really a charming, poignant, and refreshing film–while there are no earth-shattering revelations here, the film does have a unique perspective on immigration. The message here is that the sisters cannot return literally or figuratively to their homeland, and this is a bittersweet reality. The film sensitively explores the sadness and sense of loss felt by immigrants who often find out that their dreams come with a high price. The film has a great soundtrack, and all the acting was superb.

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