The American Dream In Spike Lee's Una Noche

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In Una Noche, three teenagers, Raul, Elio, and Lila, prepare for and eventually make the 90 mile journey from Havana, Cuba to Miami, Florida. The two young men desire to leave Cuba in search of a better life while Lila, Elio 's sister and narrator of the film, joins at the last minute because she does not want to be separated from her twin. Lila is the pragmatic voice of reason amongst the three and is not completely sold on the perfect life that Raul proclaims they will find in Miami. Elio is not as enthusiastic about the American dream as Raul and is primarily travelling with Raul to Miami due to his suppressed romantic feelings for the other young man. The film was directed by Lucy Mulloy, a first time director who decided to make the film…show more content…
Mulloy follows in Lee 's footsteps and creates a film that addresses several societal issues, such as immigration and sex tourism. Apart from the three protagonists, a minor character in the film that stood out to me during our viewing was the unnamed girl who appeared to be a British tourist. She first appears in Cuba riding in a convertible with her obviously wealthy family in the hotel and tourist district of Havana. The car stalls and her father makes the family get out of the vehicle to wait for it to be fixed near their hotel. She approaches Raul, who is walking past, and asks him in English if he has a lighter for her cigarette. There is a language barrier between the two, but Raul is able to communicate that he does not have a lighter and she is not seen again until the very end of the film. When Lila and Raul finally make it to the Florida coast, they are discovered by a group of tourists on jet skis who pull them to shore with a rope. The British girl is riding on the back of one of the jet…show more content…
A major theme of the film is how the main characters, especially Raul and Lila, perceive the United States and how that image changes over the course of the film. Raul 's perception of what life will be like for them in America is very skewed. He dresses nicely for the intense 90 mile journey because he believes he will be easily able to find his absentee father right as he arrives in Miami. No details are revealed about Raul 's father or when he left, but in Raul 's mind, his father has become very successful and must own a sports car and be involved with lots of women. This concept of the American dream is not real for many people who immigrate here and Lila lets Raul know this during the trip. Lila is not on the boat for a better life in America, but is instead involved in order to not be separated from her brother. She is not impressed by Raul 's talk of sport cars and women and lets him know that what he is dreaming of is unrealistic. She lets the boys know that they will still be working in kitchens in America, but in Cuba they would at least have
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