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Gripped by a suicide epidemic, a rural Cuban community struggles to find answers

Warning: this film deals with youth suicide and might be distressing to some viewers, and unsuitable for younger viewers.

In Buey Arriba, a rural community in Cuba, a 12-year-old boy has committed suicide. For his grieving family, he is the latest in a string of suicides. What’s more, his death seems to be part of an epidemic: his is just one of many suicides in the municipality. In her short documentary A Paradise, the UK director Jayisha Patel treats this deeply sensitive subject with care and respect, bearing witness as the family and community try to understand why so many people, young and old, are taking their own lives. Some of those who are grieving try to come to terms with the profound loss through the local Spiritist religious tradition, but the sense remains that no answers – metaphysical or otherwise – can assuage the pain. A stark and moving exploration of grief, Patel’s acclaimed short won awards at the Berlin, Palm Springs and Chicago International film festivals in 2014.

Director: Jayisha Patel

Producer: Pablo García Barbán

29 March 2018

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