FGCU screens ‘Todos Se Van’ at Seidler International Film Festival
On Feb. 24 FGCU held a screening of “Todos Se Van” (Everybody Leaves) as a part of FGCU’s Seidler International Film Festival. The film appeals to the writer, the daydreamer and the lost child in all of us, as the story about a young girl unfolds over the unique backdrop of post-revolutionary Cuba.
In the 1950s, a young Fidel Castro working as a lawyer and activist launched an armed revolution against the authoritarian government of former Cuban President, Fulgencio Batista.
Armed with militias, Castro overthrew the government and replaced it with a revolutionary socialist state before transforming into the communist party it is today.
Castro’s rise to power began with social reform, including an uptake in civil rights, women’s rights and widespread education. Yet, unrest between foreign countries was high, and the nation soon became increasingly more restrictive, violent and war-stricken as the years progressed.
Similarly, nine-year-old Nieve Guerra, Todos Se Van’s protagonist, is caught in a war between her mother and father, whose divorce is growing uglier as the family fights for custody, all the while percolated by a nation riddled with confusion, disagreement and oppression.
The movie begins in the 1980s, with Nieve (Rachel Mojena) living in Cienfuegos with her mother Eva (Yoima Valdés), an artist, journalist and free spirit, and her stepfather Dan (Scott Cleverdon), a Swedish, forward-thinking engineer who works to design nuclear power plants.
Eva, who runs a radio talk show, won’t allow suppression from the government to infiltrate her work and continues to host artists on her show who have spoken out against the government, an act considered a crime in Cuba. Though Eva’s free thinking provides Nieve a childhood in which her creativity and critical thinking have been able to flourish, it ultimately subjects her to vulnerability at the hands of her father when he battles for her custody.
Nieve’s father, Manuel (Abel Rodriguez), lives in mountains of El Escambra. Stricken by his failures as a husband, parent and writer, he devises a plan to steal back access to the creativity and happiness he once enjoyed while living with Eva and Nieve.
Manuel wins custody of Nieve in hopes that having her will draw Eva back to him. Needless to say, it doesn’t succeed. Instead, the repeated failure pushes him over the edge and he deteriorates into resentment, hatred and alcoholism.
Nieve’s environment changes drastically overnight to one of strict authoritarianism. For the first time, she experiences enormous restrictions, neglect and abuse from her father as well as those around her.
Tired of the mistreatment and repression, Nieve uses her quick wit to escape but is met with more difficulty when she ends up alone in an orphanage—despite her mother’s dire need to bring her home—as a form of punishment for the woman who dared defy the country.