Lessons for Luca

Salvador Gieling / Documentary / 2021 / 87' & 55' (available in January 2022)
IDFA, 2021 - Nominated for IDFA Award for Best Dutch Film
IDFA, 2021 - Nominated for IDFA Award for Best Dutch Film

Uncle Ezequiel is serving a six-year prison sentence. What crime did this Cuban farmer commit? Answer: He sold his own cow. Filmmaker Salvador Gieling, a cousin by marriage, just can’t get his head around it. And if he can’t, how will Luca – Salvador’s two-year-old son and Ezequiel’s nephew – ever understand it?

So Salvador and his wife Belga travel to the heart of the Cuban countryside and together with the family members they undertake the almost impossible mission of trying to explain to their two-year-old son Luca the story of his uncle Ezequiel.

The film intertwines the country’s incredible history with truth-finding about Ezequiel’s case and the personal story of Belga (who managed to get out of Cuba). And bit by bit, the film reveals how the individual struggles of the protagonists are all connected to a greater history and the same question that keeps coming up: “What does freedom actually mean?”

Lessons for Luca also is an affectionate family portrait, framed by the captivating music of cellist Ernst Reijseger, whose melancholy melodies are interspersed with playful moments and scenes that highlight the joy and vitality of life.


Financed by
NPO Fund and EO


Salvador Gieling
Written & directed by
Salvador Gieling
Director of photography
Salvador Gieling
Bobbie Roelofs, Salvador Gieling
Ernst Reijseger
Sound Design & Mix
Tom Jansen
Belga Tamayo Ramirez, Ruben Cuellar, Elaine del Valle Cala
Peter Bernaers


IDFA, 2021

Awards / Nominations

IDFA, 2021 - Nominated for IDFA Award for Best Dutch Film