Cuban Visions: The Unique Story of Unlucky Juan

Cuban pesos sit on the edge of a bin filled with garlic bulbs at an outdoor food market in Havana, Cuba.
Cuban pesos sit on the edge of a bin filled with garlic bulbs at an outdoor food market in Havana, Cuba. Desmond Boylan / AP Photo
Cuban pesos sit on the edge of a bin filled with garlic bulbs at an outdoor food market in Havana, Cuba.
Cuban pesos sit on the edge of a bin filled with garlic bulbs at an outdoor food market in Havana, Cuba. Desmond Boylan / AP Photo

Cuban Visions: The Unique Story of Unlucky Juan

Cuban Visions, a bi-monthly film series in Chicago, runs through November 2019. Presented by Americas Media Initiative (AMI) and Full Spectrum Features, the film expo introduces Chicago moviegoers to scarcely-seen works from Cuban filmmakers.

The series’ third installment, La Singular Historia de Juan sin Nada (The Unique Story of Unlucky Juan), looks at the Cuban economy from an “everyman” perspective. In the film, a fictional worker named Juan serves as an example of the economic struggles Cubans encounter. Viewers learn that, like so many Cubans today, Juan struggles to make ends meet. Divided into chapters, the film covers issues including rations, private business, corruption and economic migrations.

Joining us is Harold Cárdenas, a journalist and blogger from Cuba. He is editor of La Joven Cuba (The Young Cuba), an alternative media company. A philosophy professor at the University of Matanzas, Cárdenas will discuss the film’s themes, as well as Cuba’s current economy, the country’s new constitutional reforms and how Trump administration reversals of President Obama’s detente policies have impacted Cuban life. Joining Cárdenas is documentary filmmaker Alexandra Halkin. She is the director of AMI and curator of the Cuban Visions series.