A risky combination of humor, politics, spirituality, and metaphor defines a magic-realist Cuba as the lives of three people who've grown up in the same orphanage are encapsulated in bittersweet fairy tales told by a fourth, who both empathizes with and lightly judges the others. A music lover who's also a thief is afraid that falling in love will undermine his devotion to a mother figure. A dancer whose performance is both enhanced and diminished by her relationship to sex makes a bargain with a higher power to secure a career-building role. And a nursing-home employee who faints whenever she hears words whose meanings overwhelm her encounters a psychiatrist who tries to cure her by showing her she's not alone. Directed by Fernando Perez; with music by Bola de Nieve and Benny Moré (1998). 106 min.