Yolanda, a Cuban woman, goes from dancing her heart out at a house party to running against the clock to find her son and skip town once a video circulates from that gathering that seems to incriminate her.
In what will very likely be the longest day of her life, Yolanda — a Cuban woman — goes from dancing her heart out late at night at a house party in a place unlikely to be depicted in a Havana postcard, to running against the clock and struggling against more than a few “allies” to find her son and skip town, once a cellphone video circulates from that same gathering depicting a confusing situation and seeming to incriminate her.
With his feature debut, director Alán González provides us with an unflinching look at the frayed social fabric that creates a dangerous distrust among neighbours of the barrio, and gives way to feedback loops of violence; an unpredictable, inescapable presence that Yolanda enacts against her will, and one that wants to trap her like the scared animal she isn’t.
Still, the unsparing camera work and carefully sustained tension would probably amount to nothing if this daring film didn’t rest on Lola Amores’ tremendous performance as Yolanda. Her take-no-prisoners approach embodies the complex reality of a society that seems to hate women. Beyond that, the direction and performance propel the narrative to an interrogation of the distorted meaning of justice on a personal, tragic level. Yolanda’s tenacity will open paths to her son’s heart and, we hope, eventually to freedom.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: violence, explicit sex scenes, coarse language