“Habanastation,” A Good Summer Choice

Dariela Aquique 

Photo: Isbel Diaz

The opening of Habanastation in all cinemas around the country was not only a box office hit, but brings to Cuban filmography one of our most successful movies.   In the work, the representation of the national situation didn’t appeal to superfluous critiques, threadbare jokes, or scatological arguments.

The exquisite and sincere way in which Ian Padron, its young director, threw himself behind the wheel of the seventh art with this — his first feature film — is being rewarded by the thousands of spectators who pack theaters across the island daily.

A public of all ages applauded and gave the movie ovations when the credits went up.  Its director didn’t fall short of being the son of Juan Padron, who more than thirty years ago also filled those same halls with the classic character of Cuban animated cinema: Elpidio Valdez.

Habanastation gives a faithful reflection of the current context of our society.  Its plot that travels from the up-scale life of one boy whose parents belong to a favored social group and is contrasted to the precarious living conditions of another classmate whose parents have been victims of adverse circumstances.

The script is a song to both friendship and to the uplifting of human values, those that are instilled and learned in childhood.  It masterfully lays out the argument of its tale.

The scenes make us recall known or personal stories.  The moving dialogue and action form the sequences of this work.  Evidently without grandiose pretense — though enjoying an excellent cast and the cinematographic debut of young actors from the La Colmenita children’s theater company — the film could achieve listing as one of the most memorable productions of ICAIC (the Cuban Institute of the Art and Film Industry).

This would be a good choice during the vacation for going to a cinema and later discussing the movie over coffee or sitting in a park, reviewing the details of the recently viewed movie.  I believe that without it being the main objective of the film, it fulfills an educational role.

It would be very opportune and well received if there were other attempts at producing social dramas, ones with the logical and inevitable touch of comedy that characterizes Cuban life.  Thousands of Carlos and Mays (the names of the leading characters) fill our streets.

What is again demonstrated is that with love and effort, big dreams can be achieved.   I invite everyone who still hasn’t seen it to look for the film on DVD, and for those who can still see it at their cinema to make a point to go.  Habanastation is a good choice for the summer.

Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

2 thoughts on ““Habanastation,” A Good Summer Choice

  • August 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I will be looking for this film when it becomes available on DVD up here. I am old enough to remember when there were many cinemas where you could see films such as this one and, after viewing it, adjourn to a nearby watering hole to discuss it. These days most of the cinamatheques have long since been shuttered, torn down, or converted to other uses and, for the most part, we are reduced to viewing them in our own homes on DVD. The only fare available down at the multiplex are Hollywood “product” (i.e. big-budged spectaculars, where special effects predominate and character development is laughable).

  • August 5, 2011 at 6:47 am

    Do you know if it will be possible to order the DVD online? I would like to purchase a copy.

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