It’s easy to become completely lost in the emotions of the subjects and the complexity of their relationships in Voices of the Sea. Director Kim Hopkins allows the audience to connect with the struggles and choices of a community of Cubans through her telling of one couple’s story in the remote fishing village of Caijo Beach.
Mariela and Pita are as real as they come. They represent an authentic narrative of marriage that strikes a balance, though at times a teetering one, between love, happiness and sacrifice. Although in love, Mariela and Pita are at a crossroads. They’ve lived their whole lives in the poor conditions of a fishing village, and the government seems to turn a blind eye to Cubans living this way. Almost everyone in the village, including Mariela, wants to leave for a better life in America except for Pita, whose acceptance of reality and loyalty to his roots keep him from ever wanting to leave. While so many Cubans in the village believe in the American dream, it is Pita who also recognizes the harsh reality facing them in both situations.
At one point, through the lens of a digital camera, the audience is taken on an attempted journey from Cuba to America — where the complexities of the Cubans’ reality become apparent. These people are caught in a limbo between two countries that do not reach out to help them. On one hand, they can continue to live in an area where jobs are scarce and hunger is on the rise. On the other hand, they can attempt a dangerous journey to a nation where they know no one and have nothing. Neither of these choices lead to a perfect life, but with emigrants yelling to immigration officers that they’d rather die than go back to Cuba, the unforgiving nature of their lives surfaces even further.
The people of this remote village have spent their lives on the water. Fishing is one of the few sustainable jobs in the area, but even the fishermen now struggle immensely to make ends meet. Filmed on the water, the fishing scenes throughout the film are beautiful and serene, yet they juxtapose the saddening reality of the poor villagers’ lives.The people of this remote village have spent their lives on the water. Fishing is one of the few sustainable jobs in the area, but even the fishermen now struggle immensely to make ends meet. Filmed on the water, the fishing scenes throughout the film are beautiful and serene, yet they juxtapose the saddening reality of the poor villagers’ lives.
Voices of the Sea does not deliver an exact feeling of happiness, sadness, fear or relief; instead, it leaves its audience to feel all these things and more. It displays such a complexity of emotions because of the struggles of real people with no visible light at the end of the tunnel. Although this might not be the happy ending that the audience wants, it is the reality for people who don’t know where to go next.
This film is also showing at 6 p.m. March 3 in The Globe Theater and at 1 p.m. March 4 at The Picturehouse.