Entire film

Project: Musicbox

Start Date: April 2010

Completion Date: June 2010


You have to wait.
You have to wait for the girl.
You have to wait for the car.
You have to wait in line under the aggressive sun among the crowd, with a big dress, to finally be part of a rusty mechanism and be slowly guided to your way out, where you´ll have to wait again, to leave at last.
But, this is your big day and everybody wants it to be perfect and to look happy in the picture.


Director: Orisel Castro
Photographer: York Neudel
Producer: Carmen Mendez
Sound: Catarina Apolonio
Editor: Boris Villalaz

Prices and Screenings

Price of the jury CIBA-CILECT, Portugal

Selection 2011: Documenta Madrid; Festival Mar del Plata, Argentine; Kasseler Dokumentarfilm- und Videofest, Germany; International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, Havana, Cuba; Bahía; Doc Buenos Aires; Sao Paulo; 13th Muestra Internacional Colombia; EDOC Ecuador; FENACO;
Selection 2012: Nominated in FENAVID, Santa Cruz, Bolivia


Musicbox takes place on a single day in the lives of twenty-one couples facing four official registrars and a phalanx of five professional photographers. The crew are simply observers among the throng of family and friends in the heat of waiting. Castro and Neudel give us a perspective from their position on the side of the event as couples arrive, primp, affirm their vows then exit the Marriage Palace in Havana.
The only music we hear on the sound track is the intermittent chiming of a wind up music box. The irony of a mechanical, repetitious accompaniment during a significant milestone in social life is present, yet understated. The couples about to be married are directed to sit and stand in certain ways, even to place their hands together before the magistrate in the one right manner.
Each movement of the couples seems orchestrated by the State or dictated by rigid custom. Yet we know that young couples are unlikely to be so constrained. The video lets the viewers engage by inner dialog about what is “normal” in Havana and what is truly extraordinary about this day in this place.
Music Box is a very good video for instructors to raise questions about observing nuance and letting a scene play out for the audience to find their own conclusions. We get to see twenty-one couples in various stages of the brief ceremony, but we don’t get insight into their personal motivations. We get many close-ups of brides and grooms staring intently at something, but we don’t see what they are looking at. We can tell that the film crew is blending into the scenery, but we don’t get to see them onscreen. The video shows marriage processing, but we don’t get a sense of the motivation of individuals. We are in a building looking out to a street, but never in the street looking at the context of the building in the city.
Every aspect of the video from the photography to the flowing story line is in a tight frame like an observer intently focused on the task at hand. The broader context is left to the imagination of the audience. We are intrigued by what is not articulated. No doubt the audience of this video will think about their own filmmaking or their own marriage or their own deep breaths while jumping through bureaucratic hoops. Just as in the observations of a passer-by, we don’t get privileged information about what is going through the minds of the participants. There is no voice over narrative to contain our assumptions. Yet there is a clear choice by the editors of a progressing force.

Curt Madison

Filmmaker and Producer