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Jan. 12, 2012, 9:09 p.m. | Movies — by Alyona Zhuk

Though not for long, Cuban musician Benny Moré was a bright star

Alyona Zhuk

Editor's note: The choice of movies in Kyiv this week is not the greatest the capital has seen. It’s as if the cinemas are telling us to get back to work after a season of holiday indulgence. Nevertheless, cinema addicts can choose among a movie in Spanish, another one in English and two in Ukrainian this week. So, read on to take your pick.


Cuba 2006, 132’
Language: Spanish with Russian subtitles
Directed by Jorge Luis Sánchez
Oct. 17 at 7p.m.
Master Class Cultural Center

Being the eldest son in a poor family with 18 children, Benny More made his first guitar of board and twine string at the age of six.

In 1936, when he was 17, More left his village and moved to the capital of Cuba, Havana, where he was selling bruised vegetables and fruit, hardly earning enough to survive and struggling to make the career as a musician. He eventually succeeded.

He stepped on a path to stardom in 1940, winning the first prize in a radio competition and signing his first contract as a result. Changing bands and experimenting with all possible Latin, Cuban and African musical styles, More became popular not only in Cuba, but also in Venezuela, Jamaica, Haiti, Panama and Mexico.

His fame even reached the USA, where he performed at Oscar ceremonies. His life and career was short but bright – More died in early 1963 of the liver cirrhosis, which was a result of alcoholism.

“El Benny” is not a documentary, but is based on based on this Cuban icon’s life. The musical drama is focused mostly on More’s high times, and spiced up with some flashbacks to his dramatic past.


UK 1935, 86’
Language: English with English subtitles
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.
Master Class Cultural Center

Directed by the master of mysteries and thrillers Alfred Hitchcock, “The 39 steps” will probably not scare you. Instead, it will be a good trip back to the the old times to show what cinematography was like at its dawn.

Some critics say you have to watch this movie as a child (achieving it is tricky, though), when you can relate to what’s going on in the movie – particularly the atmosphere.

The plot is built around the story of Richard, who meets a girl who asked him to hide her asking him to hide her, because she is a spy tailed by assassins.

The man doesn’t believe Annabella, but allows her to stay at his place for just one night. But after she breaks into his bedroom with a knife in her back and passes out, Richard finds himself on the run and chased by the police.

While the visual effects used in the movie are something for the modern viewer to sneer at, Hitchcock’s talent in creating a creepy atmosphere stays undisputed even 76 years after the original release.


USA 2011, 118’
Language: Ukrainian
Directed by Garry Marshall
Oct. 13-19 at 7:20 and 9:35 p.m. To view full schedule visit
Butterfly Ultramarine cinema

New Year’s Eve is stacked with rituals that are believed to be extremely important to perform.

Apart from kissing someone at the strike of the cloth, everyone needs to make a wish and finish all incomplete business not to leave it for the next year.

So, right before this near-magic day, several couples as well as single people in New York cross their paths.

And though there is nothing particularly new or special about this turn of the plot, Gary Marshall managed to bring in a dozen of top-notch actors, such as Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, James Belushi and Sarah Jessica Parker, who won’t let the audience down.


USA 2011, 105’
Language: Ukrainian
Directed by Roger Donaldson
Oct. 13-19 at 7:40 and 9:40 p.m. For the full schedule visit
Butterfly Ultramarine cinema

It’s impossible to predict how any man would react when a total stranger suggests finding and killing the rapist of his wife. For the shocked and confused Will, whose wife Lora had been inhumanly violated, the only question is what the price would be.

When he finds out that all that would be required of him is “a small favor in future”, Will agrees.
It turns out that the “favor” is a murder that Will is expected to commit. And the thing is – he has already given his word.

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