Poster of the series Cuba in the Bottle

“Cuba’s air is full of rum”


Cuba is home to a lot of great things – Cuban cuisine, cigars, music, dance and much much more. But probably one of the most important “treasures” that Cubans have is Rum. Now Rum isn’t something particular just to Cuba, it’s a big part of all the Caribbean, however for Cuba Rum ties in with its history, religion, culture, and traditions. It weaves through times when Cuba was just a colony all the way to today, where rum is it’s most famous export. Award-winning Director Ben Holman, musician turned world traveler Charlie Inman and Dave Broom who has spent his whole life in the world of drink have created a 4 part series “Cuba in a Bottle”, taking the viewer into the heart of Cuba and telling a story quite often unknown to the outsider of the relationship between Cuba and Rum.


“Cuba in a Bottle” has a very nice organizational scheme and takes you from the very beginning of Cubas history, how it was found and developed to today and its way to a new century. The production is split into four parts or chapter as it’s called at the beginning of each of it – Chapter One – “Roots”, Chapter Two – “Independence”, Chapter Three – “Expansion” and finally Chapter Four – “New Era”. Each name of each chapter nicely summarises the main topic each part will be talking about. The Ethnic groups of Cuba are very diverse, “Cuba in a Bottle” does a great job explaining why Cuba is such a melting pot of cultures, traditions, and religions, introduces them to the viewer and showcases the heritage. The series has a varied cast as well as shows Cuba and its history from all the possible angles involving all the ethnicities that call Cuba their home.


still of the animation in the Cuba in a Bottle


The series also has a very interesting style, a mix between live-action and animation. The animation is quite often used when they’re speaking about Cubas history, it is used as an illustration to embody past events of Cuba and it just draws your attention. It has a smooth, fluid and organic transitions from live-action to animation and animation to live-action, bringing. Apart from animation “Cuba in a Bottle” also features 16 tracks of historically authentic Havana sounds that was scored and recorded with a full Cuban band. It all is complemented by a number of live performances of the film’s specially composed theme song, “Cuba embotellado” covered by musicians extending to every Cuban genre.


You can definitely see and feel that a lot of love and work was put into the project. Genuine love and interest for Cuba, its culture and Rum. With quite often the portrayal of Cuba and other countries in the Caribbean being less than positive, “Cuba in a Bottle” showcases the rich history and traditions that Cuba has, all of its ups and downs and potential rise for something better. A beautiful ode to Rum and explanations that it’s a lot more than just an alcoholic drink, it’s a drink of gods, spirits and inseparable part of Cubas identity.


You can see all four chapters of Cuba in a Bottle on Vimeo


Have a look at the trailer



Have a look at some of our previous posts:

Interview: Dekel Berenson director of Anna

Interview with Elizabeth Hogenson director of animation Dani

Review – Hank – Short film exploring open relationship





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