Picks and Pans Review: Letters from the Park

updated 11/20/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/20/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Fri., Nov. 17, 9 P.M. ET)

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Although this romantic tale comes under the Great Performances banner, it is not the players that make it memorable (though Argentine actor Victor Laplace is wonderful). Rather, this story, culled from a passage in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel Love in the Time of Cholera, is distinguished by the soft-focus touch of Cuban director Tomas Gutierrez Alea.

That touch is applied to a plot about a young Cuban couple in 1913 who are courting through the intermediary of a professional letter writer (Laplace), whose alfresco office consists of a desk in the town plaza. In Alea's hands this prosaic plot (in Spanish with subtitles) is vivid yet dreamy, simple yet enchanting.

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