- Title: Cuban spy ring the focus in political thriller starring Penelope Cruz
- Date: 1st September 2019
- Summary: VENICE, ITALY (SEPTEMBER 1, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** ACTRESS PENELOPE CRUZ ARRIVING ON RED CARPET AND POSING FOR PHOTOS ACTOR LEONARDO SBARAGLIA FILMING CRUZ VARIOUS OF CRUZ POSING FOR PHOTOS VARIOUS OF CRUZ JOINED ON RED CARPET BY MALE CAST MEMBERS AND DIRECTOR OLIVIER ASSAYAS VARIOUS OF (L-R) ASSAYAS, CRUZ, ACTOR EDGAR RAMIREZ, ACTOR GAEL GARCIA BERNAL, ACTOR WAGNER MOURA AND SBARAGLIA POSING FOR PHOTOS FANS VARIOUS OF ASSAYAS AND RAMIREZ POSING FOR PHOTOS SBARAGLIA POSING FOR PHOTOS RAMIREZ FILMING HIMSELF AND FANS WITH MOBILE PHONE AND SHOUTING "Venezuela!" VARIOUS OF CRUZ SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS RED CARPET ARRIVALS RAMIREZ ON RED CARPET POSING WITH AND KISSING VENEZUELAN FLAG CRUZ ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE FILM TEAM TAKING SEATS AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTRESS PENELOPE CRUZ, SAYING: "I wish we'd had lived in the 90s for a little longer because for sure mental health issues I think that would have helped a lot. Because I don't feel things are going at the speed that we are prepared for and this might seem like an exaggeration to a lot of people, for me I'm convinced that we were raised with a very, very different relationship with technology. And right now children and teenagers, unless the parents are aware of that, they are in contact so much with electronics, that takes time away from children to learn how to play, to communicate with others, to have a conversation, to be at a table having dinner talking to their family, to learn how to talk to their friends, to be bored, which is something very important that we all should learn when we are children. So for me that is affecting not only children, it's affecting all of us. I feel it is creating a lot of general anxiety. And I wonder, at this speed this going, if this continues I feel like all of our brains are just going to explode."
- Embargoed: 15th September 2019 22:00
- Keywords: Wasp Network Cuba Venice Film Festival Penelope Cruz Gael Garcia Bernal Olivier Assayas Edgar Ramirez
- Location: VENICE, ITALY AND VARIOUS FILM LOCATIONS
- City: VENICE, ITALY AND VARIOUS FILM LOCATIONS
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Film
- Reuters ID: LVA001AUTTJCZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A ring of Cuban operatives seeking to infiltrate anti-government groups exiled in Miami in the early 1990s is the focus of French director Olivier Assayas' "Wasp Network", a star-studded political thriller based on a true story.
Starring Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, Gael Garcia Bernal and Wagner Moura, the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday (September 1), where it is competing with 20 others for the top Golden Lion prize.
The action begins in Havana with Cuban pilot Rene Gonzalez, played by Ramirez, flying off to the United States to defect, leaving his wife, Cruz' Olga, and their daughter behind in the Communist state led by Fidel Castro.
While it appears at first that he wants to start a new life in Florida, he joins other exiled Cubans there as part of a ring known as the Wasp Network, a pro-Castro group.
Led by Garcia Bernal's undercover operative Manuel Viramontez, they infiltrate Cuban-American groups that want to topple the Castro regime.
Assayas said he liked the idea of leading the audience in one direction and then "twisting" it.
The film is based on the true story of The Cuban Five intelligence officers who were arrested in Florida in 1998, convicted of espionage and other activities and jailed, before eventually being released after lengthy jail terms as part of a prisoner swap between the two countries.
Assayas, known for "Clouds of Sils Maria" and "Personal Shopper", said shooting in Cuba was "what allowed this film to happen."
"I thought there would be conditions, strings attached, but the reality is that there was not. We were completely free to make the film exactly as we wanted. We had, I won't say that we had no control or no...I won't neither say that we were not spied on. We were monitored to put it mildly, but there were no consequences on the film," he said.
He said the film was made during "a period of tension between Cuba and the U.S." and that the situation was "evolving fast".
"We thought we were lucky we had made this film before because I don't think it would have been possible to be made today," he said.
At the film's Venice news conference Cruz, who described the story as "a very interesting subject to explore", was asked about her biggest fears.
"The world seems more and more divided every day," she said, also citing the impact of fast-changing modern technology on children and teenagers.
"I feel it is creating a lot of general anxiety. I worry," she said.
(Production: Cristiano Corvino, Sarah Mills, Hanna Rantala)
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