On her deathbed, a wealthy woman reveals that she – in order to keep her possessions from being given to a collective – has hidden her jewels in one of twelve identical chairs, newly confiscated by revolutionary authorities. After her death, three men want to find the jewels; her son-in-law, the priest who took her last confession and her gardener start hunting all over Havana and beyond.
A classic comedy by the director of Death of a Bureaucrat (1966), the Oscar nominated Strawberry & Chocolate (1994), and Guantanamera (1995).
Despite having been criticized for creating schematic characters, with this film Alea created a significant example of socialist-realist cinema. The Twelve Chairs is the Cuban version of an oft-told Russian story, also filmed by Mel Brooks in 1970.
(This film is ONLY available for sale on DVD and for research rentals. It may not be rented for a non-commercial public performance screening.)
“A farce about petit-bourgeois greed!”
— Ralf Schenk, film historian
“[Tomás Gutiérrez Alea is …] one of Cuba’s major directors!”
— The New York Times
“Farcical laughs under the Castro regime.”
— Ed Grant, Video Business
- Introduction to ICAIC
- Photo Gallery
- Director Biography & Filmography
- Short Film: Cuban Filmmakers on Cuban Films