Oceans Are the Real Continents 2023

Los oceanos son los verdaderos continentes

Directed by Tommaso Santambrogio Fresh

Beautifully shot in stunning black and white, this exquisitely realised first feature from Italian filmmaker Tommaso Santambrogio paints a stark and poetic portrait of a Cuban society crippled by mass exodus.

Aug 16

Hollywood Avondale

Italy In Spanish with English subtitles
119 minutes DCP/Colour and B&W
M
Sex scenes

Director, Screenplay

Producers

Marica Stocchi, Gianluca Arocpinto

Cinematography

Lorenzo Casadio Vannucci

Editor

Matteo Faccenda

Production Designer

Alexis Álvarez Armas

Costume Designer

Anisleidys Boza

Music

Ramiro Cordero, Marco Reccagni

Cast

Alexander Diego, Edith Ybarra Clara, Frank Ernesto Lam, Alain Alain Alfonso González, Milagros Llanes Martínez

Festivals

Venice 2023

Elsewhere

Oceans Are the Real Continents is a deeply heartfelt ode to the beauty and resilience of Cuban people, at a time when they are faced with one of the greatest crises of their history. After attending a workshop held by Filipino director Lav Diaz at the International Film and TV School of Cuba in San Antonio de los Baños (a school founded by Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel García Márquez, among others), Italian filmmaker Tommaso Santambrogio decided to turn his camera on real people in the town, chronicling the life of Cubans at a time of calamitous economic downturn which resulted in huge waves of migration. In his exquisitely photographed black and white debut feature, Santambrogio juxtaposes three stories inspired by real life, where non-professional actors play fictionalised versions of their own stories.  

Edith and Alex are a couple of artists in their 20s: she is an accomplished puppeteer (the film offers one of the most gorgeous and heartbreaking marionette performances ever seen on the big screen) who has been offered to work in Italy, while he is a playwright and teacher deeply attached to his roots in San Antonio. Elderly Milagros daily indulges in reading the letters her husband sent her from Angola, where in the 1980s Cubans joined the war against South Africa. Every day, she goes to the train station, with the undying hope he will finally come back. Children Franck and Alain are best friends who dream of becoming baseball champs in the US. But Franck’s parents are really planning to move to Florida.  

Through rigorous visual compositions and admirable compassion, Santambrogio captures the predicament of his characters and of the whole Cuban people, torn between resistance and exile, and between past, present and future. — Paolo Bertolin