Americans have a distant idea of Cuba. Most of us don’t really know what to think of the place, as most never visited due to the embargo – or blockade, as the Cubans see it – so we chalk it up to be the ‘paradise’ we have seen in pictures or heard of: beautiful architecture, 50s-era automobiles, cigars, beaches, women, rum. Cuba is a paradise for the elite and the tourists, but for most Cubans it is about surviving the paradise. Paradiso follows a crew of electronic music youth through the dark night landscape of Havana. They are of a generation defined by Cuba’s Special Period, an extended period of economic crisis beginning in 1989 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Due to severe shortages of hydrocarbon energy resources, the period radically transformed Cuban society and the economy and people were forced to live without many goods and services they were used to. Today, Cubans have a brotherhood and spirit of resilience that is palpable. Many struggle to not only survive but to live their dreams in a country largely cut off from global society. Music and substance help provide a way to escape.
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