Malin’s life gains new meaning when he is abruptly plucked from his career as a Russian Literature professor at the University of Havana and unexpectedly tasked with a gut-wrenching new job in Un Traductor. He has been assigned to the children’s ward of a local hospital that is treating victims of Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster. Every night, he leaves his family to translate oftentimes tragic news given by Cuban doctors to these distraught Russian families.
Rodrigo Santoro is mesmerizing as Malin. We see him gradually slip away from his wife and son as he becomes increasingly consumed by the devastating grief of watching these innocent children demise before his eyes. Nurse Gladys (remarkably portrayed by Maricel Álvarez) snaps him out of a defiant state of self-indulgent wallowing by reminding him that those innocent children did not choose to be in that hospital either.
Once Malin gets over himself, they become his purpose and he does everything in his power to bring them joy and peace. He playfully reads to them and gets them to open up by encouraging the children to express their feelings and share their stories through journals and drawings. Unfortunately, raising the children’s spirits comes at the expense of his own neglected family.
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