Featuring 31 works by 22 Cuban artists around the world, Video Cubano debuted last week in New York City. With a slate of artists that included Alexandre Arrechea, Lázaro Saavedra, and Glenda León, the edgy, slyly humorous videos touched on topics like the military, the black market, sexuality, and freedom of expression—all from a distinctly Cuban perspective.
1912, Voces para el Silencio (1912, Breaking the Silence) by Gloria Rolando and En el Cuerpo equivocado (In the Wrong Body) by Marilyn Solaya premiere on movie screens in Havana.
In 1968, Cuban movie screens were shaken by a black-and-white feature film with a singular title: Memorias del Subdesarollo (Memories of Underdevelopment). Although its director, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, set the drama in the time between the disastrous Bays of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the missile crisis the following year, the film was not a propagandistic paean to the virtues of the Cuban Revolution. Its main character was a wealthy bourgeois who stays behind when his family leaves for the US; film’s images were contradictory, with nothing idealized. Forty years later, the young Cuban filmmaker Miguel Coyula rescued Edmundo Desnoes, the exiled scriptwriter of the original film. In New York, they began working on his next project: Memorias del Desarrollo (Memories of Overdevelopment). The blog CINE CUBANO: La Pupila Insomne (CUBAN CINEMA: The Imsomniac Eye) by Cuban film historian Juan Antonio Borrero published a substantial interview with this independent filmmaker.
Running April 16-23, the 11th edition of the Havana Film Festival New York closed with its first ‘Havana Star’ awards ceremony and a screening of the documentary Eso Que Andan (Van Van Fever). Highlights of this year’s festival included the first Cuban delegation to attend in many years, a multi-screening salute to Cuban filmmaker Erique Pineda Barnet, and a competition slate of 15 films from Cuba, Latin America, and the Caribbean.