SE PERMUTA (HOUSE SWAP) (Juan Carlos Tabío) Rating: NN
Folks familiar with Toronto’s insane real estate scene will feel empathy for Gloria (Rosita Fornés) in Se Permuta, a 1985 comedy that opens Toronto’s second annual Cuban Film Festival.
An overbearing mother who wants to live in a better neighbourhood so her daughter can meet the right kind of man, Gloria sets off a domino-?effect house-?swapping binge all over Cuba. But people annoyingly persist in pursuing their own interests, including daughter Yolanda (Isabel Santos), who dumps her high-?flying graphic designer fiancé and falls for a builder instead.
Stylistically, Se Permuta is all over the place. Some of the opening scenes and musical cues appear to borrow from telenovelas; there’s also random fourth-?wall-?breaking as well as a fairly sophisticated meta-?commentary from the director near the end.
But these elements aren’t used often enough to make them feel like part of an overarching plan; rather, they’re like desperate attempts to break the rhythm of the Three’s Companyesque farce that is the rest of the film. The only true spark comes from Yolanda and her builder, who are drawn together by shared ideas and interests. Theirs is a story you want to follow past the closing credits.
The festival runs Friday to Tuesday (June 6-?10), at the Greek Canadian Democratic Organization Hall (290 Danforth).
See listings for details.