A Group of Close Friends Broken up by Migration

Erasmo Calzadilla

HAVANA TIMES, April 6 — About ten years ago, a group of my friends lived in a house in the Nuevo Vedado neighborhood of the capital. Almost all of them had other places to live; they just preferred being together.

It wasn’t the bubonic plague, but another epidemic — a social and political one — that forced these guys and gals to lock arms in this fraternity in which they felt so warm.

They loved joking around, cooking and eating as a group. Then too, they had their frequent intellectual and political discussions, but above all they liked each other – without fetishizing their mutual affection. Still, what reigned in the environmental was thinking, the questioning of everything and wanting to be free – which wasn’t and isn’t something confined to nut cases.

In the hay day of this little commune arrived Sachico, a young Japanese anthropologist who traveled to Cuba to complete her doctorate.

She lived there with those “savages,” and with her techniques convinced them that she was one of them (or did she really enter into the group?). The truth is that her sushi dishes become regular meals on their communal table.

A few years later this circle of friends achieved their desired dreams of leaving for anywhere and staying in the most distant and disparate places. The idea was to reunite as soon as the opportunity presented itself, but instead, each one began sinking roots and having children in their respective new “homelands.” Even their accents started to change.


Sachi came up with the idea of visiting them and filming each with her little camera to learn and document what had happened in their lives, to see how their ideas and ideals had changed and to find out what happened to the group.

When some of the group came to visit in Cuba, there was Sachi with her intrusive camera capturing the emotional moments, not to mention the conflicts, disappointments and misunderstandings that inevitably gave way.

This documentary, Cuba Sentimental (the title is what I like least about it) will be shown on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. on the second floor of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) building. It’s not in the Youth Film Festival competition underway and it’s only for people who are registered with the festival.

It has already been presented at prestigious festivals and has won a number of awards, though I don’t want to go into those details since Sachi will have more time to talk about those in an interview that we plan to do.

I just want to say (because for her it’s very important) that it was the renowned director Fernando Perez who suggested entering it in the festival here after taking a glance at it in a festival in the Orient.

Oh, by the way, I was one of the housemates. And I should warn you, my diction is terrible!




Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

2 thoughts on “A Group of Close Friends Broken up by Migration

  • Good to read you again…yay! Intrigued to watch the film…will do a bit of detective work to see how I can get a copy. 5

  • This sounds like material for a play or novel, where Truths with a capital “T” cand be revealed. In the meantime, through memoirs form, the smaller “t” truths can be told.
    Last night, for example, I attended a one-man performance, where the actor portrayed a gallery of characters. After the end of his “fictional” performance, the actor took the risk of addressing his audience without the mask of one of his characters, revealing something about himself and about the people and situations whch inspired his performance, His performance was a religious experience, producing emotional catharsis, both in me and, I suspect, in most of the audience, too. What you reveal above, Erasmo, has something to say about time. and how you view “then” and “now.” (Also, who you were then, and who you are now.) If you can lay hands on it, you might want to read Roberto Bolano’s “The Savage Detectives,” if you haven’t already.

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