The Lost City

on April 28, 2006 by Ed Scheid
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"The Lost City" is set in 1958 Havana during the Batista dictatorship. After revolutionary forces led by Fidel Castro take control of Cuba, nightclub owner Fico Fellove (Andy Garcia, "Oceans Twelve") struggles to hold his upper-class family together. His two brothers are more supportive of revolutionary goals. Meanwhile, Fico and his widowed sister-in-law Aurora (Ines Sastre) soon fall in love.

Garcia directed, produced and composed the music for this film. The screenplay was written by G. Cabrera Infante, a Cuban exile like Garcia. Infante was guest director of the 1992 Telluride Film Festival. He died on February, 2005 and this year's Festival was dedicated to him.

Shot in the Dominican Republic, "The Lost City" is most successful in recreating the vibrant culture-particularly the music-of pre-revolution Cuba. Garcia gives a passionate lead performance, and Dustin Hoffman appears briefly as gangster Meyer Lansky, who wants to do business with Fico. But the film seems like a mini-series edited to feature length without time for character development. Supporting characters are familiar types from historical sagas. An exception is Bill Murray as a cynical writer whose appearances enliven the routine storyline. Starring Andy Garcia, Bill Murray, Ines Sastre and Dustin Hoffman. Directed by Andy Garcia. Written by G. Cabrera Infante. Produced by Frank Mancuso Jr. and Andy Garcia. A Magnolia release. Drama. Rated R for violence. Running time: 139 min

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