Bitter Sugar presents a fascinating portrait of contemporary Cuba as a country of shattered dreams and unfulfilled promises.

Despite the widespread unemployment in Havana, Gustavo, a student who has just won a scholarship to study at the University of Prague, still believes in the ideals of Fidel Castro's socialist revolution. However, his father, a psychiatrist, gives up his vocation in order to earn more money playing piano in a hotel frequented by tourists. And Gustavo's brother Bobby, a rock musician, injects himself with the AIDS virus as a political act of protest against the repression of the ruling regime.

This strikingly photographed Cuban black-and-white film by writer and director Leon Ichaso charts the love affair between Gustavo and Yolanda, a fun-loving and free-spirited girl whose mother doesn't approve of his politics. With its surprising finale, Bitter Sugar vividly conveys the spiritual dimension of politics and how the yearning for freedom is the heartbeat of humanity.