Wasp Network

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Original title Wasp Network
Country of production France , Belgium , Spain , Brazil
original language English
Publishing year 2019
length 123 minutes
Director Olivier Assayas
script Olivier Assayas
production Charles Gillibert ,
Rodrigo Teixeira
music Eduardo Cruz
camera Denis Lenoir
cut Simon Jacquet

Wasp Network is a thriller by Olivier Assayas that celebrated its world premiere on September 1, 2019 as part of the Venice Film Festival and has been available on Netflix since June 19, 2020 . The film is based on the novel Os últimos soldados da guerra fría by the Brazilian Fernando Morais , in which he tells the story of the Miami Five , five Cubans who were trained by the country's secret service, who formed the "Wasps" network as agents and in the USA went to jail.


Havana in the early 1990s. The pilot René González leaves his wife Olga and their daughter in Cuba to start a new life in the USA. He secretly goes to Miami on a stolen plane. He soon joins a group of Cubans in exile and opponents of Castro, who operate from Florida and use military operations against the Cuban regime and also aim to disintegrate the Cuban tourism industry. The secret organization is headed by Manuel Viramontez, also known as Gerardo Hernandez. Not only are they trying to drop propaganda leaflets over Havana, but they are also trying to smuggle drugs and weapons.


Literary template and title

The film is based on the novel Os últimos soldados da guerra fría by the Brazilian Fernando Morais , also known as The Last Soldiers of the Cold War in the German translation . The book is divided into 15 chapters.

Freedom now! , a poster in Havana for the liberation of the Miami Five

While the title of the film aims at the "Wasp Net", the title of the novel refers to the Miami Five , five Cubans whose story everyone in Cuba and Florida knows, who were arrested and sentenced to long prison terms in the USA.

Antonio Guerrero, Fernando and René González, Gerardo Hernández and Ramón Labañino, as agents trained by Cuba's secret service, had formed the "Wasps" network that reported to Havana about terrorists who planned attacks by air or disguised tourists, smuggled weapons and in Havana Hotels and restaurants detonated bombs. In Florida, the five infiltrated Fidel Castro's opponents. After their arrest in the United States, they had to serve severe sentences. Hernández, the leader of the group, was sentenced to two life sentences and 15 more years in prison for conspiracy to kill airplanes. Labañino was sentenced to life and an additional 18 years, Guerrero to life and an additional 10 years, and Fernando to 19 years.

Staff, cast and dubbing

Directed by Olivier Assayas , who also wrote the script. He said he had never heard of the five until his producer and friend Rodrigo Teixeira gave him the book by the Brazilian journalist Fernando Morais to read. After learning about the story, he understood why it was so important to the Cubans. It was a challenge for him and his team to process the text into a script for a film, because what Morais had written was full of facts that could not be easily turned into pictures. Assayas went on to say, "I think relations between Cuba and the United States have been difficult and full of obstacles for over 60 years." History should not be seen in terms of right or wrong, it must also be viewed with a view to the truth and tell with great precision, says the director. Assayas mainly focuses on the story of René González and his wife Olga in his film.

role actor Voice actor
Olga Salanueva Penelope Cruz Claudia Lössl
Gerardo Hernández Gael García Bernal Julien Haggège
Ana Magarita Martinez Ana de Armas Alice Bauer
Juan Pablo Roque Wagner Moura Florian Clyde
Jose Basulto Leonardo Sbaraglia Bernd Vollbrecht
Denayf Elias Roque Julio Gabay Tobias Nath
Tete Amanda Morado Kornelia buoy

The Venezuelan actor Édgar Ramírez took on the role of René González, the Spanish actress Penélope Cruz that of his wife Olga Salanueva. The Mexican Gael García Bernal plays Gerardo Hernández. The Brazilian Wagner Moura , the Argentine Leonardo Sparaglia and the Cuban Ana de Armas can also be seen in other roles .

Ramírez said of the ambivalent character he plays and leaves his wife and daughter behind in Cuba: “René certainly loved his family very much. And the hope of seeing her again at some point made him cope with a lot. […] This human aspect of the story was particularly interesting for me. ”In the first part of the film, you explore the archetype of the spy, the ultimate split personality and a person who has chosen to be someone else around the clock . In the second part, the film changes and a political thriller turns into a violent love drama, says Ramírez.

The German-language dubbing was done by Daniel Montoya on behalf of Interopa Film GmbH, Berlin.

Filming and film music

Filming began in Cuba in spring 2019 . Further recordings were made in Gran Canaria , one of the Canary Islands, in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, in Puerto Rico and in Uruguay . Denis Lenoir acted as cameraman .

The score was composed by Eduardo Cruz .


The film was screened in the main competition at the Venice Film Festival in September 2019 , where it competed for the Golden Lion . In September 2019 the film was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Special Presentations, as well as in mid-September 2019 at the Festival of American Films in Deauville , where it was presented as a graduation film . At the end of September and beginning of October 2019 it was shown at the New York Film Festival .

Wasp Network has been available on Netflix since June 19, 2020 after a first trailer was presented a few days earlier.



Overall, the film received mixed feedback from the critics.

In his review for Filmdienst , Rüdiger Suchsland writes that from the beginning Olivier Assayas has worked very consciously with the disorientation of his viewers and unfolds a puzzle of false and real identities, valid and broken loyalties. He arouses sympathies, which he shakes again and vice versa, just to give his audience an idea of ​​the chaos and the emotional life of the characters. The film takes a lot of time to develop this very own world, says Suchsland, and he does it so impartially and openly that anyone who doesn't know what the film will be about could believe that there are sympathetic ex-Cubans and Castro haters in the center. Instead of clearly assigned good-bad roles, one understands the highly complex interplay of espionage and counter-espionage, of masks under which new masks become visible, better and better as the film progresses: “All the characters here are patriots in their own way with feelings, passions, weaknesses and personal motives for the political, sometimes violent, struggle. At the same time, in their own way, they are also ice-cold agents with a double life. ”Assayas succeeded in creating a spy thriller full of ambivalences, which at the same time fulfills its aim by telling an exciting, often surprising story at all times.


Venice International Film Festival 2019

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Folha de S.Paulo: Venice Film Festival selects two films produced by Brazilian. In: plataformamedia.com, July 25, 2019.
  2. Leo Burghardt,: "The last soldiers of the Cold War": Brazilian author proves injustice that happens to the Cuban "Miamia Five" in the USA. In: Neues Deutschland, March 19, 2013.
  3. A new book about the 5 Cubans imprisoned in USA. In: debatare.de. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  4. a b c d Wasp Network "the real story". In: netzwerk-cuba.de, April 25, 2019.
  5. http://ptm.eu/wp/2012/02/februar-tip-kuba-lesen/
  6. ^ Rapprochement between the USA and Cuba: Alan Gross and the "Cuban Five". In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  7. Emma Stefansky: 'Personal Shopper' Director Olivier Assaya's Helming Spy Thriller 'Wasp Network'. In: screencrush.com, April 6, 2017.
  8. ^ A b 57th New York Film Festival Main Slate Announced. In: filmlinc.org, August 6, 2019.
  9. The main character on the new Netflix thriller "Wasp Network". In: skip.at, June 17, 2020.
  10. Estrellas de Hollywood filman en Cuba "Wasp Network". In: cuballama.com, March 26, 2019. (Spanish)
  11. Elsa Keslassy: Orange Studio Scoops Olivier Assayas, 'Wasp Network' With Penelope Cruz. In: Variety, February 4, 2019.
  12. Canary Islands News. In: atlantisfm.de, April 23, 2019.
  13. ^ Eduardo Cruz Scoring Olivier Assaya's 'Wasp Network'. In: filmmusicreporter.com, August 27, 2019.
  14. ^ Wasp Network. In: labiennale.org. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  15. ^ Rhonda Richford: Deauville American Film Festival to Screen Nate Parker's 'American Skin'. In: The Hollywood Reporter, August 22, 2019.
  16. Kate Erbland: NYFF Announces 2019 Main Slate, Including 'Parasite', 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire', and More. In: indiewire.com, August 6, 2019.
  17. Christoph Petersen: Netflix and Édgar Ramírez can't just make bad films: Trailer for the espionage thriller “Wasp Network”. In: filmstarts.de, June 17, 2020.
  18. Ryan Lattanzio: 'Wasp Network' Trailer: Olivier Assayas, Penélope Cruz, and Gael García Bernal Come to Netflix. In: indiewire.com, June 11, 2020.
  19. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/wasp_network
  20. https://www.filmdienst.de/film/details/583540/wasp-network#kritik