By Osmel Almaguer
The murderer had her cornered, as hope for escape dwindled slowly.
I witnessed this nail-biting trauma, lounged back watching it in my living room armchair. It was one of those Saturday nights in which the week’s fatigue had anchored me to the house and TV.
Fortunately, the sheer panic of that woman on the brink of a horrifying death is a situation quite distant from what happens here in today’s Cuba. However, we routinely and almost unconsciously expose ourselves to an assailant that is much more subtle-but equally dangerous.
The slasher that I previously referred to resembles many other films coming out of the grand film empire that Hollywood, Calif. represents. It is part of a formula that repeats itself methodically: the main character, usually an easygoing guy, going through a chain of incidents is forced to expose his violent side, most often to defend his life against some evildoer.
I have experienced moments when, sickened by the violence in one of these movies, I’ve turned the channel only to find virtually the same scene on all stations.
Our constitution, policy and efforts have advanced over these last fifty years to succeed in defending the ethical and aesthetic values of a humanist nature.
However, Hollywood’s machinery is not so virtuous. Millions of subliminal messages penetrate the subconscious of people, conditioning their attitudes and behaviors. A great part of the responsibility for the current state of the world’s conscience lies with the cultural superstore located in laid back and alluring Beverly Hills.
It’s counterproductive that we flood our own television with this virus of senseless violence, crass selfishness and a slew of other banalities. This produces a tension within our people’s collective psyche, a dual tendency of acceptance and rejection.
Over the last few years, we have begun to notice behavior that imitates these absurd situations and characters on US television. In a few years, we might not be surprised to see the emergence of serial killers, psychopaths and bank robbers on our streets.
World cinema has a magnificent heritage in countries like Iran, Korea, China, France and Brazil, to mention only a few. They maintain solid schools of cinematographic art in which creativity and reflection prevail.
However, the global economic crisis is making it more evident that the limitless power of imperial interests is aimed at not only controlling politics and markets, but the minds of people as well.
Because of that, as well as the obvious difficulties of our providing quality programming, we must find different ways to promote thematic diversity in audiovisual and film creations that are in agreement with our true needs.
There have been times when we eliminated elements that we superficially related to an enemy ideology, such as when we banned jukeboxes and pool halls after 1959. Later, assuming an erroneously moralistic stance, we censored sexually explicit scenes in movies.
Nevertheless, confronted by this particularly indistinct yet threatening form of aggression, we have resigned ourselves to impassivity. Blood on the screen, over-sexed human bodies, and messages of self-indulgence come before enriching dialogue or thought-provoking dilemmas.
Faced with the panorama, we now have movie programs in which producers have demonstrated conscience, such as the weekly film presentations on Critical Spectator, The Seventh Door, Art Film and 20th Century Theater, among others that have defended education and good art. However, these are not enough. It is necessary to get to the root of the problem and to formulate a new policy toward it, even if this implies fewer films on TV.