Adorables Mentiras was the first Cuban movie to be shown at the San Diego Latino Film Festival.(The 2001 line-up is their eighth year, but this feature dates all the way back to 1992. The director, Gerardo Chijona, also had his most current movie at the festival, Un Paraíso Bajo las Estrellas, which I didn’t get the chance to see.) A wannabe screenwriter and a supposed “Natassja Kinski look-a-like” attempt to romance each other despite their marital obligations. (The writer’s wife isn’t sure if he’s having an affair with another woman, or if he’s is gay and cheating on her with his director, but no matter what she does, he’s not interested in sex with her.) Even though Adorables Mentiras precedes In the Mood for Love by nine years, the concept of ambiguously uncertain relationships is not nearly as fleshed out in Chijona’s movie than it is in Wong Kar-wai’s film. The tones are completely different; Adorables Mentiras aims at the comedic aspects of false identities and, like the title suggests, “adorable lies.” In the Mood for Love examines another circumstantial “affair,” but with much more depth and seriousness. Chijona’s characters are in the affair for themselves, for their own gratification, and are cheating on their spouses. Neither one seems to care too much about their lives or relationships, so the selfish and greedy actions speak louder than the lies. Kar-wai’s characters are cheated on — they come together only to understand why, and act out how they thought it happened. Over the course of In the Mood for Love, there is an equivocation if the re-enactments and rehearsals of their respective spouses has actually bled into an affair of their own. It’s a healthy confusion inasmuch as one’s interpretation and enthrallment strives off of those elements, whereas in Adorables Mentiras it becomes confusing to follow the flailing storylines and lies. Maybe that’s the point — the inability to discern which are the lies and what aren’t — but if so, it is so flimsily constructed after the premise, and as a comedy it fails with, at best, scattered laughs. And the lousy, tinny electric piano score is very early Eighties, not Nineties.
With Luis Alberto García and Isabel Santos.[Not to be bothered with.]