Searcy Foote / Spoon River (video play)


By Adonis Milan

HAVANA TIMES – This is the third chapter in the video/theater series based on Edgar Lee Masters’ poems, written in the Spoon River Anthology. This episode focuses on the story of a young anarchist’s life, Searcy Foote.

The short movie was filmed in an old property belonging to demonized former Cuban president Fulgencio Batista, known as Ciudad Libertad (Liberty City) today, located in Havana’s Marianao municipality.  A place that was usurped by the Revolution and transformed into (doctrine) schools, revealing the tyrannical power that young rebels overthrew. After some time, these same rebels became the tyrannical power. I am mentioning the place it was shot because it takes on meaning when we look at the cause the lead character (the rebel) defends.

Searcy Foote rebels against us like a young person whose dreams have been thrown out of the window because of their financial position. Reading books by French philosopher and revolutionary Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (who was one of the driving forces of anarchist thought), Foote is inspired to take his life into own hands.

As a result, we see this character as a paradigm of the working-class uprising. Somebody who believes, above all else, that the end justifies the means. Even though his dream became a longing to dominate, his torment is clear and understandable.

Young people are marked by instinct, but this instinct is controlled by the veterans who hold power. With his actions, Searcy Foote tells us that power needs to be taken from them, although we’ll have to first cut off their heads in order to do this.  Like any good revolutionary, he stains his hands with blood for an ideal.

Januel Hernandez’s performance fills his character’s cold instinct with torture and passions. Subtly evoking other young literary figures who questioned the status quo and decided to destroy it, such as Hamlet or Victor Frankenstein.

Great care has been taken with every visual detail, giving symbolic importance to the elements. Mysticism and the psyche go hand in hand, creating an intense and heartrending story about the human condition.

Death is always present in every story of Spoon River, putting an end to its characters’ anarchy, pain, fear, anger and frustration. We have made sure to place these lost souls in an indefinite time and space. Where every scene seems to constantly fragment like a play, like a terrible curse for all the inhabitants of Spoon River. 

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