Who the Hell Is Juliette?

Gleefully mixing fact and fiction, this 1998 mockumentary fabricates the story of Yuliet, a 16-year-old Havana hooker who may or may not be the Yuliet Ortega playing the role. Mexican director Carlos Marcovich met Ortega on a trip to Cuba and cast her in a music video as the younger sister of Fabiola (Fabiola Quiroz), a Mexican model. He then spent three years shooting and editing this project, playing with narrative expectation and cutting back and forth in time and locale; both Yuliet and Fabiola address the camera, revealing half-truths from their tawdry lives, and Marcovich seems to be using the autobiographical tidbits to invent new twists and turns as he goes along. The tale can be maddeningly enigmatic at times, but it perfectly captures the Havana of the 90s, a wacky, oversexed paradise of vibrant colors and decaying elegance. With cameos by Salma Hayek and painter Francesco Clemente. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Thursday, February 25, 6:00, 312-443-3737.

–Ted Shen

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.