Concert films rarely escape from the typical format of a minor documentary leading into and out of live show footage. With Amor Cronico, Jorge Perugorria’s solo directorial debut, the aforementioned concert film format is shuffled up a bit, with the film following Grammy-nominated and Cuban-born singer CuCu Diamantes’ tour across her home country mixed in with a fictional love story. Was it enough to break free from the trappings of the genre’s conventions?
Director: Jorge Perugorria
Release Date: November 4, 2014 (Available here)
CuCu Diamantes finds herself in an awkward situation: She’s too much Cuba for New York, but too New York for Cuba. During a country-wide tour of her home country, she meets a little person named Guarapo. They instantly connect to one another, and the singer decides to bring him on tour with her in an advisory/managerial-esque role. Throughout their journey, they fall into comedic episodes, such as their tour vehicles constantly breaking down and the like. The most prevalent arc through the fictional narrative is Guarapo’s unrequited crush on CuCu, which is explored through various cutaway scenes. Sprinkled throughout the narrative are live performances of CuCu and her band.
As is the nature of concert films, Amor Cronico will only draw in pre-existing fans of the artist (in this instance, CuCu Diamantes). The added layer of the narrative was a nice touch to allow both CuCu and Perugorria to express their creativity and make Amor Cronico more than the typical concert film. However, while their intentions were sound, the film might have been better suited as a typical concert film. The plot did help beef the film up a bit, but was ultimately forgettable and uninteresting. The twist ending was a fun poke at the genre and filmmaking overall, but it would have been better appreciated if the metafictional, fourth-wall breaking was explored further throughout.
The narrative also distracted from the live performance scenes, which were absolutely amazing. I had personally never heard of CuCu prior to the film, but her voice and diva-like aura were captivating. I’d have much preferred to watch her perform than galavant around Cuba with her semi-fictional entourage. Then again, I guess that’s what YouTube is for, right?