Academy Award Submission for Nomination Best Foreign Language Film: Cuba: ‘The Companion’
1988, Cuba, those infected with HIV or suffering from AIDS were given free room, board and medical treatment at a beautiful facility called “Los Cocos”. Except for the criminals who shared prison cells, the patients shared apartments with other patients. These apartments were so comfortable that some healthy people wanted to have AIDS so they could live in such conditions. But the patients were also treated as prisoners, living under military guard. One day a week they were allowed a day of freedom when they could leave the facility, but they had to have a companion assigned to be with them at all times.
“The Companion”/ “El acompañante” is a very Cuban film because the government’s treatment and control over the spread of AIDS was very particular to Cuba. The story is based on historic facts: Cuba was indeed the only nation in the world that mandated universal HIV testing and enforced isolation of all HIV carriers.
After failing a doping test, Horacio Romero -a world-class Cuban boxing champion- has no other choice but to serve the sentence. His fate is in Los Cocos, a sanatorium under military rule where HIV patients are compulsorily confined, with the exception of a weekly pass to visit their families under the supervision of personal wardens called “companions”.
Running Time: 104 min
See the trailer here.