In this episode of the Seventh Row podcast, we discuss the delightful Cuban comedy Sergio and Sergei, directed by Ernesto Daranas. This warm film about connecting across borders and a critique of totalitarian regimes is one of this year’s true hidden gems.
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Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney (@bwestcineaste), Associate Editor Brett Pardy (@antiqueipod), and Editor at Large Mary Angela Rowe (@lapsedvictorian) discuss comedy about authoritarian regimes, the film’s wondrous special effects, and depictions of resilience.
Sergio and Sergei is available to stream on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, and YouTube.
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About Ernesto Daranas’s Sergio and Sergei
Sergio (Tomás Cao) is a Marxist Philosophy Professor in Havana and a ham radio enthusiast. Just as the USSR is dissolving, he unexpectedly makes radio contact with Sergei (Héctor Noas), the only cosmonaut still on the Russian Space Station MIR, and they become friends. Both suddenly find themselves isolated from the rest of the world: Cuba has lost its closest ally while Sergei finds the borders on the ground have changed in ways that seem arbitrary from outer space.
Meanwhile, Cuban government agents are eavesdropping on Sergio’s transmissions when they discover he not only has an American friend (an Apollo conspiracy theorist played by Ron Perlman) but a Russian one — at this time in politics! Hilarity ensues, but director Ernesto Daranas Serrano pays close attention to how political events impact day-to-day lives, focusing on the humanity of his characters and the importance of their relationships. It’s a crowd-pleasing delight.
Watch the trailer here.
Show notes and recommended reading
Watch behind the scenes footage of how Sergio and Sergei‘s space scenes were filmed (video in Spanish)
Read Discover Magazine’s profile on cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev.
Sergio and Sergei was one of our TIFF top 20 titles seeking distribution in 2017. See what happened to the other films from our lists in 2016, 2017, and 2018 (Including The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia).
Read about The Grizzlies, as mentioned in the podcast, in our new 2019 Canadian Cinema Yearbook
Catch up with more great Canadian films by taking the Canadian Cinema Challenge: we’ll curate some of the best films of the decade, help you locate how to stream them, and guide you through your viewing. Take the Canadian Cinema Challenge now.