Cuban director Arturo Infante's film mixes absurd humour and wry political commentary as it follows a kindly planetarium worker who accepts a very special invitation from her neighbour, an extraterrestrial.
The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia
A compassionate and candid woman with an endless curiosity for life, Celeste (Maria Isabel Diaz) is a retired and widowed teacher living a tranquil, unadventurous existence in Havana. Her part-time job at the planetarium keeps her busy, but she goes home to a careless adult son who ignores her, and her selfish sister visits only when she is looking for something.
One day, the government announces the surprising news that aliens have been living on Earth and that these unusual guests are now returning the favour by inviting humans to their world. Celeste had always thought that her “Russian” neighbour Pauline was eccentric — she now realizes her friend was truly from another planet. While people rush to put their names forward to be selected in an extraterrestrial lottery, Celeste discovers that Pauline has left her a personal invitation. To everyone’s surprise, she agrees to accept.
And thus begins the hilarious, tongue-in-cheek feature debut by Cuban filmmaker Arturo Infante. The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia follows Celeste as she prepares for her intergalactic trip while playfully reflecting on contemporary Cuban society. As she travels by train to an abandoned high school where the chosen few are forced to bunk together in squalid conditions as they await transportation to another world, she makes new friends and even ignites a romance.
Melding humour, absurdity, and political commentary, Arturo Infante’s film poignantly questions how many light years one should traverse to find happiness.