Ezequiel is serving a six-year prison sentence. So, what crime did this Cuban farmer commit? Answer: He sold his own cow. Filmmaker Salvador Gieling, a cousin by marriage, just can’t get his head around it. And if he can’t understand it, how can he explain it to his two-year-old son Luca? So Gieling and his family make the journey to the village of Sibanicú, where, camera on his shoulder, he tries to figure out what happened to Luca’s uncle.
Conversations with family members paint a picture of Cuba, a state that’s been corrupted by economic mismanagement and ideological calcification. The film intertwines the country’s history with the story of Gieling’s wife Belga (who managed to get out of Cuba), Ezequiel’s case, and the question of what freedom actually is. Bit by bit, the film reveals how the personal struggles of all individuals root from the same place.
But Lessons for Luca is also an affectionate family portrait, framed by the music of cellist Ernst Reijseger, whose melancholic accompaniments are interspersed with playful moments that highlight the joy and vitality of life.
Nominated for the IDFA Award for Best Dutch Film