“Mas Rollo que Una Pelicula”

Cuban culture in general is incredibly vibrant and colorful, with a attentive focus on the arts. With recent tourism to Cuba rising, foreigners often underestimate how vibrant the buildings, cars, and clothes are in Cuba. And this powerful expression also transfers over into language and proverbs. When visiting home recently, my aunt and grandmother came over to share common Cuban vernacular with me. But this one came from my mother.

The idiom is: “Mas Rollo que Una Pelicula”. Phonetically, it’s easy to pronounce since it utilizes the same Latin alphabet. It’s literal translation is “You are more roll than a movie.” However, when one says the idiom to someone they really mean that they act like they’re better than they actually are.

Throughout my mother’s childhood, my grandfather would take her to work with him so that she could slowly learn what it took to run a business. That’s when she would encounter the charismatic nature of salesmen, who knew how to talk the talk but not walk the walk. If my grandfather could see through the ruse–and according to the stories he usually did–he’d say “Mas Rollo que Una Pelicula” to the salesman. For my mom, it means when someone is gloating about their accomplishments, flaunting something they deem valuable, or bragging about opportunities. They just want attention, my mom would say, because their actions don’t deserve the praise they are looking for.