Sunday 14 July 2024
12:00 AM |

A Translator

A Russian Literature professor at the University of Havana is ordered to work as a translator for child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster when they’re sent to Cuba for medical treatment. Based on a true story.

  • Spanish
  • Russian
Production Year
Film Type
Production Countries
  • Canada
  • Cuba
Rodrigo Santoro, Yoandra Suarez
Production Company
Creative Artisans Media, Involving Pictures
Premier Status
Regional premiere

Crew List

Rodrigo Barriuso
Sebastian Barriuso
Lindsay Gossling
DOP / Camera
Miguel Littin-Menz
Michelle Szemberg
Bill Laurance
Davi Aquino
Production Designer
Zazu Myers
Production Designer
Juan Carlos Sanchez Lezcano
Rodrigo Barriuso

Festivals / Awards

2018: Sundance Film Festival, Nominee for Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema - Dramatic section, Utah, USA
2018: Shanghai International Film Festival, Winner of Golden Goblet for Best Director, China. - Nominee for Best Film
2018: Premios Fénix (Fenix Film Awards), Nominee for Best Actor (Rodrigo Santoro), Mexico


Sebastián Barriuso, Rodrigo Barriuso
Sebastián Barriuso, Rodrigo Barriuso


Film Critic

Review of a real life

Iliya Mohammadi Nia
Iliya Mohammadi Nia

“translator”, directed by Barriuso brothers, with a look at the life of their father- Malin Barriuso, educated in Russian literature in Cuba- is based on a real story. Although the movie starts with the arrival of Gorbachev- the last leader of Soviet Union before the country’s dissolution- welcomed by Fidel Castro and Cuban people, but in continue, the audience see Malin, the main character of the movie, interview a Russian author for his doctoral dissertation and quote a Russian: “people of Russia and Cuba have a common sense of isolation; just Russians bear it on the ground and Cubans on the sea”The audience soon realize that despite other references like demolition of Berlin’s wall and … this is not going to be a political movie. In fact, the audience finds that directors of the film are using these signs to depict Cuban environment of those years and through them successfully introduce Malin as the main character of the movie. What the film focuses more than anything else on, is the changes in Malin’s world-view over his life and surrounding world. After several encounters with children affected by radioactive radiations through leakage of Chernobyl accident in general hospital of Havana, who are suffering from multiple serious health issues, he confesses that there are realities in life that he had no proper understanding from them in the past and this changed his attitude toward life; just as his wife, Eisana, who by witnessing these changes in her husband, gained a new vision and knowledge over their marital life. Rudigo Santor presents an outstanding performance in the film as Malin Barriuso.

Rip the borders

Behnaz Jafari
Behnaz Jafari

Pain is human beings’ shared language. This is the only real concepts which need no “translator”. Wherever a painful disaster happens, all borders humans have made around themselves will tear. A Translator is the narration of a disaster occurred somewhere in the world which has affected the life of a small family in another place. This disaster is so painful that cannot be directly narrated. It should be tolerated perhaps with a little dramatizing. A Translator is the presence of fiction in front of reality. A sort of seeking help from fiction to look at a terrifying reality so that it might become tame a bit. Of course there is neither a triumph nor those happy endings promised by Hollywood when confronting catastrophes. The ultimate of plot’s achievement is some children’s survival from instantaneous death. What happens to them later is not accessible by director’s camera. Let them be among thousands of men, women, and children never found by “a translator” and never captured by a camera. In 1989, Malina Russian Literature professor at the University of Havana, who has a peaceful life with her artist spouse and her little son named Xavi is asked for a mission in Havana Hospital. This is where she confronts victims of Chernobyl nuclear accident. Her mission is to be only “a translator” between doctors of Havana Hospital and victims of Chernobyl disaster. But pain is the only concept which needs no translator.

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