Three Lovely Cubans Don’t Dance in the New Latin America Film Festival

After 1959 censorship began precisely because of the movies. Saba Cabrera Infante and Orlando Jimenez Leal — as one commentator rightly points out — and their Havana night is quite far from the imaginary rebel. PM was a cursed film, which I thought several years after its completion; and later seeing the nocturnal video clip, its images in black and white, was a relief. As with other films in the production-prohibition-subsequent exhibition dynamic, the trigger for censorship was so naive, so incomprehensible, that it was hard to believe that those works had brought criticism and ostracism to their makers.

Alfredo Guevara has reigned as a guardian angel (?!) over very film made in the last half century in Cuba. His aesthetic opinion saved us from orthodox socialist realism, or so I’ve been told; but his most recent declarations confirm for me the need for him to retire. Arrogant, as if he believes he has the key to the truth, he gives the thumbs down to veto certain Cuban projects in the Film Festival competition (although the blame begins with another, we know they share the responsibilities of authoritarianism).

We assiduous attendees during the month of December are tired of seeing such horrible and forgettable films — where’s the selection committee to appeal to now? I know something about the case of my cousin Miguel Coyula with his “Memories of Development” and how it wasn’t admitted to the contest last year, despite having been endorsed by several prizes. THe real reason it was excluded must be sought outside the film. Allow me to speculate that with the work of Eduardo de Llana (“Vinci”) and that of Enrique Colina (“Los bolos en Cuba…”) must face the same thing, unless the commission has been punctilious and purist, then the festival will have two or three films from Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, one or two from Peru and Chile, something from Cuba and nothing from Venezuela.

November 25 2011

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