The 31st Havana Film Festival

Daisy Valera

Festival de cine de la Habana.  Photo: 2009.
Festival de cine de la Habana. Photo: Dicember 2009.

One of the most impressive events organized every year in Havana is the Festival of New Latin American Cinema (aka-Havana Film Festival) – and this year was no different.

Festival number 31 began on December 3 and extended to the 13th.

To walk Havana’s streets during the Festival is quite different from the rest of the year. Instead of tired faces, I saw excited ones.  It was as if most people had rid themselves of the complexities of daily life.

Along with Cubans, people from different countries of the world mix in and participate in this event.  The result was that the theater lobbies were filled with all types of languages and blended with all different races.

With the festival we turn into explorers.  We probe the billboards of all the cinemas and travel wherever it’s necessary to find the movie that interests us.

We play with our time to intoxicate ourselves with movies from the dawn’s early hours until about one o’clock at night.

The selections at the festival were quite varied.  Along with those movies from Latin America countries that were included in the competition, you could find samples of Italian, Norwegian and even Russian and Japanese cinema.

Perhaps many people will wonder why the film festival is so magic. Part of the answer is simple: most Cubans have the two pesos in their pocket needed for admission into any cinema, as opposed to other countries where the cinema is almost a luxury.

The Festival of New Latin American Cinema is beautiful because it is in great measure the result of a type of socialization of culture, art and the economy.

That’s why my greatest desire when experiencing these moments is that this event not be the least exclusive to Cuba and that all people from around the world end up organizing events like this one – and many more.