One More Take on Habanastation

Dariela Aquique 

Mayito and Carlos from Habanastation. Photo: Caridad

Last week I read with surprise an entry titled “‘Habanastation,’ or a Bad Version of the Little Pink Shoes,” by HT colleague Amrit.  Afterwards, I couldn’t think of anything less than how much resentment we Cubans let invade out inner beings for it to later surface like this, with barbed writings that aim negative notions at ourselves.

The author questioned the director’s formal aesthetic assumptions when conceiving the film, criticized the script and the photography because they seemed to construct the images and went so far as to consider them too improbable to reflect reality.

I’m unaware of what elements of knowledge regarding artistic creation this author possesses, but evidently she is ignoring something as basic as the fact that she’s referring to a work of fiction, whether based on real facts or not, but fiction in the end.

I also see that she establishes an analogy with a simple verse from Marti.  Why?  Was it because of the similarity of positions between Pilar from Martí and Mayito from the film, “Oh take them, take them, I have more in my house.”

Marked social differences in Cuba have never ceased to exist.  They were there while we were a Spanish colony, while we were an American colony, and they’re here today though we’re not a colony of anyone, but victims of obstinate ideologies.

That’s what’s terrible, that in our promised society “with the poor, by the poor and for the poor” someone finds similarities with the reality illustrated by Marti in the 19th century.

But the mission of art goes after something else.  Although it’s a mirror of its time, it has hedonists and didactic objectives, even more so if it’s dedicated to children, which is a quite sensitive social sector.  It’s therefore not wise to put stress on what’s bad.

Amrit says in her commentary that the Pioneers sing our anthem with apathy and indifference, that they mutter the words and do more mouthing than singing.  That’s true, but that’s bad. The hymn, the shield and the flag are national symbols that should be respected, something that is instilled in us at school and also in the home from when we’re very little.

Nationalism has nothing to do with ideas or political attitudes, and if her son also mutters the hymn instead of singing it, she should correct him.  So what sense would it make if we went to the cinema to see situations as lamentable as these without saying clearly that by portraying the scene as proposed, the censor wouldn’t have allowed the screening.

The artistic styles are divided in two major categories, the realists and the non-realists.  The first one always exhibits the probable, the possible; the second displays the abstract, the impossible. Neither of the two reproduces reality.

I reaffirm what I said in my note regarding the movie: it is a song to friendship.  I believe that Amrit should perhaps watch it again attentively and she’ll realize that yes, that thinking clearly, it could be a version of a verse from Marti, finally Mayito “has more than the leopard, because he has a good friend.”