Waiting List (Lista de Espera)
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In a small Cuban town, several people have gathered at the bus station, waiting to board the bus. Unfortunately, no one knows when the next bus will arrive—and when one does arrive, there’s no guarantee that there will be more than a seat or two available. Some of them have been waiting at the station for days, and when a bus arrives, they all scramble—old ladies, mothers with children, and other passengers desperate to reach their destination—to fight for the only available seats.

Meanwhile, the station’s manager is trying to fix the station’s only bus—but nothing seems to working. But when he attempts to shut down the station and send everyone away, many of those waiting refuse to leave. Instead, they decide to stay and work together to fix the bus themselves.

Lista de Espera (or Waiting List in English) brings a variety of different people together—a young man hoping to find a better life in Santiago, a young woman on her way to meet her Spanish fiancé, a blind man who seems to be able to handle himself a little too well, a feuding married couple, a fat man with a box of food that he won’t share, and more—and shows how they interact and work together as they try to fix the station’s bus…and the station itself.

Waiting List combines endearing characters with a captivating—and often amusing—story to create a film that’s well worth a couple of hours of your time. In a way, it’s a little bit like a Cuban Gilligan’s Island—a bunch of lovable characters thrown together, working to make the best of their less-than-desirable situation (but Waiting List is less slapstick—and there aren’t any headhunters and/or cannibals). Despite the frustrating situation the characters are in, the film has only the slightest bit of commentary on life in Cuba. Instead of a two-hour-long rant about the ills of the system that makes it next to impossible to get a ride out of town, it’s an upbeat film, full of lighthearted humor. And while I found the end to require a bit of a stretch of the imagination, it wasn’t nearly enough of a stretch to ruin the whole movie for me. Despite the questionable conclusion of their story, these Cuban Castaways are definitely worth watching.

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