Bitter Sugar

Overview

This moving drama from filmmaker Leon Ichaso has been given a respectful presentation for its American DVD release. Bitter Sugar has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the audio, in Spanish, has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo. The film also contains optional subtitles in English. Bonus materials include the film's original trailer, and biographical sketches on the film's director and cast.
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Overview

This moving drama from filmmaker Leon Ichaso has been given a respectful presentation for its American DVD release. Bitter Sugar has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the audio, in Spanish, has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo. The film also contains optional subtitles in English. Bonus materials include the film's original trailer, and biographical sketches on the film's director and cast.
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Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; Cast and director profiles; Scene selections
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
"Things are never easy for us Cubans," proclaims Gustavo, the young, extremely naïve socialist at the beginning of this story. Whereas Gustavo accepts food rationing, a crumbling infrastructure, and restrictions on free speech as temporary obstacles to a better Cuba, everyone around him can't. His new lover, Yolanda, needs to break away from her restrictive mother and satisfy her yearning for material goods; his father is an embittered widower whose chosen profession of psychiatry isn't a viable career option in Castro's impoverished Cuba; his brother is a rock n roll animal, an endangered species in a socialist country which, as we know from The Buena Vista Social Club, frowns on much more benign forms of pop music as unworthy of serving the aims of the state. Bitter Sugar is not the anti-Castro screed it might have been; it's something better, just a cut below the high standards of Strawberry and Chocolate and Memories of Underdevelopment as sophisticated explorations of the dilemma of Cubans who see the hollowness of the revolution's promises. The filmmakers clearly love the sensuality of the island, even as they despair of the impossible compromises its dead-end political system forces on so many of its citizens. Gustavo and Yolanda are a beautiful pair of lovebirds, and you can't blame director Leon Ichaso for filming them in as many clinches in as many locations as possible, but the film comes dangerously close to supporting too much of its critique of Castro with an impossible dream of love everlasting. When Gustavo's naivete curdles, it's important to recall the number of blasted lives among his small circle of family, friends, and mentors that helped turn his head around.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/27/2001
  • UPC: 717119646042
  • Original Release: 1996
  • Rating:

  • Source: New Yorker Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White / Pan & Scan
  • Language: Español
  • Time: 1:42:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
René Lavan Gustavo Valdez
Mayte Vilan Yolanda
Miguel Gutierrez Dr. Thomas Valdez
Larry Villanueva Bobby
Luis Celeiro Mr. Garcia (The Teacher)
Teresa M. Rojas
Felix German Secutiry Guard (Beach)
Orestes Matacena Claudio
Technical Credits
Leon Ichaso Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Claudio Chea Associate Producer, Camera Operator
Jose Ferro Jr. Songwriter
Orestes Matacena Screenwriter
Jaime Pina Producer
Yvette Pineyro Editor
Liliana Soto Production Designer
David Tedeschi Editor
Manuel Tejada Score Composer
Manuel Tejeda Songwriter
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Scene Index

Scene Selections
0. Scene Selections
1. Bus Ride [9:01]
2. Rooftop Romance [8:01]
3. The Band [3:00]
4. On the Beach [2:23]
5. Interrogation [6:49]
6. Suicide [7:52]
7. Sons [1:56]
8. Motel [4:34]
9. The Camp [16:39]
10. Dinner Date [3:55]
11. Conversation [12:19]
12. Healing [8:33]
13. Proposal [3:00]
14. The Raft [3:49]
15. Sacrifice [2:25]
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Menu

Main
Play Feature
Trailer
Profiles
   Leon Ichaso
   Rene Lavan
   Mayte Vilan
   Larry Villanueva
   Miguel Gutierrez
   Teresa Maria Rojas
   Orestes Matacena
   Luis Celeiro
   Menu Group #1 with 16 chapter(s) covering 01:44:16
Subtitles
   Subtitles ON
   Subtitles OFF
New Yorker Films
   Guantanamera: Play Trailer
   Unmade Beds: Play Trailer
   Fire Works: Play Trailer
   Loulou: Play Trailer
   About Us
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