The Lost City (2005 film)

The Lost City is a 2005 American drama film directed by Andy García. It stars García, Dustin Hoffman, Inés Sastre, and Bill Murray.

The Lost City
The Lost City film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAndy García
Written byG. Cabrera Infante
Produced byAndy García
Frank Mancuso, Jr.
StarringAndy García
Dustin Hoffman
Bill Murray
Inés Sastre
Tomás Milián
CinematographyEmmanuel Kaddsh
Edited byChristopher Cibelli
Music byAndy García
Distributed byMagnolia Pictures
Crescent Drive Pictures
Release dates
  • September 3, 2005 (2005-09-03) (Telluride Film Festival)
  • April 28, 2006 (2006-04-28) (United States)
Running time
144 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$9.6 million[1]
Box office$4.4 million[2]


Fico Fellove is the owner of El Trópico, a swank nightclub in Cuba in 1958. He lives for his family and his music, while facing the harsh realities of Batista's dictatorial regime. His brother Ricardo becomes a revolutionary for Castro's rebel army, his brother Luis joins the student opposition, and his father Federico, a well-respected university professor, pushes for change by constitutional, peaceful means.

When Ricardo is arrested and threatened with execution, Fico calls upon an old prep school friend Castel, now a police captain, for help. Ricardo is released from jail, and Fico offers to help him go to Miami or New York City, but he instead joins a rebel column headed by Che Guevara.

Fico is approached by Meyer Lansky, of New York's Genovese crime family, who wishes to open up a gambling room at El Tropico. As he intends for his club to remain a place of music, he turns down the offer. When a bomb later explodes at the club, killing Fico's star entertainer (who is also his lover), Fico assumes that Lansky is behind it. However, in the increasingly unsettled climate, he cannot be certain.

Luis becomes connected with a plot to seize the presidential palace, kill Batista, and restore democracy. The plot fails and most of the attackers are killed. Luis escapes but is killed later by Batista's secret police. At the urging of his mother, Fico tries to cheer up Luis’ distraught widow Aurora – Fico and Aurora fall in love.

Castro's rebels seize power after Batista flees the country. Fidel Castro declares there will be no elections and Che Guevara oversees the arrests and summary execution of all those who supported the Batista regime. Among those to be executed is Captain Castel. Fico asks Ricardo, now a high-ranking officer in the new regime, to return the favor that Castel once carried out to save Ricardo's life, but Ricardo does nothing to save him.

Ricardo visits his uncle Donoso, a tobacco farmer and cigar maker. Donoso feels that while Castro may be in power now, “the land endures” and says that the farm will next pass to him. Ricardo announces that the reason for his visit is to appropriate the farm for the state. Donoso, furious, has a heart attack and dies. Ricardo, overcome by grief, commits suicide shortly after the funeral.

The revolution affects Fico in other ways as it takes a communist direction. The musicians' union, controlled by Castro, has declared the saxophone to be an imperialist instrument and forbids its use. The club is eventually shut down on a flimsy pretext. After a chance meeting with Castro, Aurora is declared Revolutionary Widow of the Year. She begins to work for the State, and ends her relationship with Fico.

Fico's parents beg him to leave Cuba and start a new family. Reluctantly, he procures exit visas for himself and Aurora. In a last effort to convince her to join him, Fico barges in on a reception for revolutionary leaders and Soviet Bloc ambassadors, but Aurora refuses to go. He raises a toast to a democratic Cuba, then leaves the reception. Fico says his goodbyes to his parents and goes to the airport, where most of his money and possessions – including a prized family pocket watch from his father – are confiscated.

Fico begins a new life in New York. Working as a dishwasher and piano player at a Cuban club, he hopes to save enough money to bring his family to America. Meyer Lansky approaches him with an offer of a Cuban nightclub in Las Vegas, but Fico turns him down. He runs into Aurora, who is in New York as part of a Cuban delegation to the United Nations. He now realizes that she is like Cuba: beautiful, alluring, but also damaged and unattainable. He decides now that his cause is to build a new life until he can return to the city he lost. Fico recites a poem by Cuban nationalist Father José Martí and commits himself to someday returning to his "lost city". He later opens a new nightclub in New York.



Che GuevaraEdit

In one scene of the film actor Jsu Garcia as Che Guevara is shown after an ambush casually shooting a wounded Fulgencio Batista soldier where he lies.[3][4] Later in the film the Guevara character asks Andy García's character why he "bothers with such scum", in reference to a former Batista officer who was executed that morning.[4]

Fulgencio BatistaEdit

The film however also depicts Cuban dictator at the time, Fulgencio Batista's "Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities" (BRAC) unit, executing a prisoner at La Cabaña and shooting a wounded insurgent who had attempted to storm the Presidential palace during the growing popular rebellion.

Bill Murray as "The Writer"Edit

Bill Murray appeared in the movie as the character of "the Writer". He shows up early in the movie asking Fico for a job, and hovers around Fico, commenting on the absurdities of life, though never playing a clear part in those absurdities. According to the “making of” video, the role is similar to that of a Greek chorus and is really the personality of the movie's author G. Cabrera Infante. Again, according to the making-of video, Murray was given some latitude in improvising dialogue – the scene toward the end where Murray and Hoffman (as Meyer Lansky) discuss egg creams was almost entirely improvised.

Critical responseEdit

The film generally received unfavorable reviews. Rotten Tomatoes' collection of critics gave the film a 25% approval rating, with the stated consensus that "what starts as a promising exercise devolves into an overlong, unevenly directed disappointment."[5]

Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice critiqued the historical validity of the film, stating "García's tale bemoans the loss of easy wealth for a precious few. Poor people are absolutely absent; García and Infante seem to have thought that peasant revolutions happen for no particular reason—or at least no reason the moneyed 1 percent should have to worry about."[6] Stephen Holden of The New York Times described the political dialogue in the film as "strictly of the junior high school variety" while opining that the "characters pontificate in generalities and aphorisms" making them "little more than stick figures with cartoon balloons pasted over their heads."[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Lost City (2006) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  2. ^ The Lost City (2006) Box Office Mojo Retrieved 2018
  3. ^ Stylus Magazine. The Lost City, Movie Review Online. Accessed October 26, 2006.
  4. ^ a b "Che - YouTube". Retrieved Mar 30, 2019.
  5. ^ The Lost City by Rotten Tomatoes
  6. ^ "The Lost City" by Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice, April 18, 2006
  7. ^ The Lost City: An Elegy for Old Havana by Stephen Holden, The New York Times, April 28, 2006

External linksEdit