Cuba’s Cinema Fiesta Begins


Deciding which films to see
Deciding which films to see (photo by Caridad)

HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 3.- The 30th Havana Film Festival had its official inauguration Tuesday night but many of us were outside the main movie theaters in the capital before 10:00 a.m. to catch the first of five or six showings.

While on the first day the most highly touted competing films were not shown, we lovers of good cinema took advantage to travel to the steppes of Mongolia and concern ourselves about the advance of the desert or to the Brazilian favelas with their violence and the marked alienation of residents that see drugs as an escape from miserable lives. Other not so young film goers had the chance for a reencounter with excellent Soviet cinematography.

A lot of Havana residents of all ages plan their vacations for this time of the year in which the streets fill with people hurrying from one Movie Theater to another. For those without vacation time, other excuses are found to miss work or classes. Everyone seems moved by that inherent necessity of all people: to dream.

The Havana Film Festival continues through December 12th. The winning films then get two days of bonus showings on the weekend of December 13-14.

Carlos Acosta and Miguel Littin at Inauguration

(photo by Caridad)

The official festival opening began at 8:30 p.m. at the Karl Marx Theater with a showing of a short film by Enrique Alvarez with important moments of the last three decades of Latin American Cinema including clips with directors Octavio Cortazar, Humberto Solas, Miguel Benavides and Sergio Corrieri.

After Festival founder Alfredo Guevara gave the welcoming address, special Coral of Honor awards were handed to Mexican Director Paul Leduc and Chilean Miguel Littin for their contribution to Latin American Cinema over the last 30 and more years.

Littin said that the film directors who founded the New Latin American Cinema movement struggled to give the continent’s excluded a “face and voice” by putting them on the screen. “Our cinema is different because our history is different,” he told the audience.

Carlos Acosta, a principal dancer of the Cuban National Ballet, made a special solo dance performance that brought much applause from an audience that appreciates his grace and moves.

The last plate on the program was the screening of the film Leonera by Argentine director Pablo Trapero. The film deals with women and children behind bars and is one of the 22 competing full-length fiction films.