By IRINA ECHARRY
HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 13.- The 30th Havana Film Festival reached its conclusion this weekend. On Friday night the awards were issued and the winning films were shown again on Saturday and Sunday. Many of us had a good time these days enjoying the magical atmosphere that the 13-day event always brings with it to the Cuban capital.
On the down side, I recall that not long ago there were many local neighborhood cinemas taking part in the festival (one or two in each municipality), but the number has been reduced. As a consequence, everyone who wants to see the main films concentrates around eight centrally located theaters, thus the very long lines.
Marinela, a 24-year-old woman who doesn’t like the lines, told me: “This is a unique opportunity. If you don’t see the movies here, it’ll be difficult to see them later. There are countries that donate copies, but others don’t-so it’s better to make the effort. I like the Brazilian films a lot because they have good stories and are well acted. The situation of the children and with drugs pains me, but I identify with the women in the favelas, even though they’re very marginalized. I believe they’re that way because they don’t know anything else. There was one Brazilian film I didn’t like, Filmefobia. It was too horrifying, about a sadistic guy who filmed people in distress when facing their fears; it didn’t seem believable. The festival is very diverse, that’s why I don’t miss a day.”
Alberto, a 33-year-old physical therapist told me that the showings from other continents are what’s best. “They allow us to get to know the films of other places; I liked the Latin American cinema of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Today I think the themes are repetitious. I didn’t miss any of the German films; I saw some of the Italian ones, the modern Russian ones, a very good African film, but what I liked the most was El captian Abu Raed, from Jordan. It’s about an older man who tells stories to the children in the neighborhood. It touches on different social problems like child labor and domestic violence. He tries to change things, even if it means paying a very high price. The end is hard, but the film is a song of hope.”
The opinions are very diverse, and people have been generally happy. Daysi wants the festival to last longer. “There aren’t enough days to see so many films. The best was the film on Che. I got in line very early because I wasn’t going to miss it. I was surprised by the number of people who showed up at the Yara Theater that night. I read that the producers donated several copes to Cuba, and I’ll go see it again when it’s shown. Hopefully many young people will see and analyze it. I liked it a lot.”
The Havana Film Festival comes to an end with the announcement of the 31st Festival next year. Each December many of the best films from Latin America and anywhere on the planet can be seen. It’s an ecumenical event that gives us the possibility to take the pulse of world cinematography, independent of ideologies, ages, races or ways of life. The only thing that’s important is cinema. That’s why it’s a party.
Havana Film Festival Prizes
The full-Length fiction film first prize went to Tony Manero, by Pablo Larrain (Chile); 2nd Prize: Linea de Pase by Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas (Brazil); 3rd Prize: Cuerno de la Abundancia, Juan Carlos Tabio (Cuba). The special jury prize went to Leonera by Pablo Trapero (Argentina) with a special mention to La Buena Vida by Andres Wood (Chile).
The Best Director award went to Albertina Carri for La Rabia (Argentina); The Best Actor was Alfredo Castro in Tony Manero (Chile) and Best Actress Sandra Corveloni in Linea de Pase (Brazil). The Best Screenplay went to Arturo Arango and Juan Carlos Tabio (Cuba) for El cuerno de la abundancia.
The Opera Prima, first film top award went to Parque via by Enrique Rivero (Mexico) with 2nd going to Mutum by Sandra Kogut (Brazil); 3rd prize to Acne by Federico Veiroj (Uruguay). Best Soundtrack was won by Rufino Basavelbaso and Francisco Adrianzen for Dioses (Peru). Best Original Music went to Fernando Moura and Marcos Suzano in Mare, nuestra historia de amor (Brazil).
Best Documentary went to Eugenio Polgovsky for Los herederos (Mexico); 2nd Prize to Ignacio Aguero for El diario de Agustin (Chile); 3rd prize to Gonzalo Arijon (Uruguay) for Vengo de un avion que cayo en las montañas. Susana Barriga (Cuba) won a special mention for The Illusion.
Best Short Fiction Film went to Carlos Armella (Mexico) for Tierra y pan. Best Animated Film went to El Empleo by Santiago Grasso (Argentina).
For a complete list in Spanish of all awards including peripheral prizes click on the official Havana Film Festival link: http://www.habanafilmfestival.com