Another Cuban in the Cosmos

Poster for Intrakosmos

Daisy Valera

HAVANA TIMES — I met Adrian Replanski after waking him up one night in 2007.

Late that night I was devouring “Fabrica de humo” (“Smoke Factory,” his first feature film) and a few opportune buttered bread rolls sold at the cafe located a few step from the Linea Avenue tunnel.

A look at his work allows us to discover his interest in new forms of identification between people, ones that go beyond traditional relationships between family members or between citizens of the same country.

His creations are critiques of the view that seeks to label “work and sacrifice” as virtues/values but that is unable to trace the horizons.

And finally, he employs urban ruins not for the now common delight with decadence, but as a means to convey a message: structures emptied of utility can be filled with new meanings.

Currently, Adrian is looking for a certain space suit in Havana, one that faithfully reproduces those designed in the USSR in the 1980s.

He has in his hands a new project that could lead to another Cuban in space, it’s his short film Intrakosmos: nostalgia del futuro (Intra-kosmos: Nostalgia for the Future).

My first interview in Havana Times is of course with Adrian.

In addition, since traveling in space isn’t easy, this director is desperately seeking funding through the web site

HT: What is intra-kosmos?

Adrian Replanski: I used the 1980 joint Soviet-Cuban flight as a background, as well as the much-publicized project of the socialist countries (Interkosmos).

Adrian Replanski. photo: Youri Mendoza

From this I created a fictitious event: the secret Intra-kosmos project. Supposedly, the crews on the mission live a kind of displaced existence in relation to a completely different reality that cannot be explained with current intellectual coordinates. The only word that would come close to describing that spatial anomaly is “communion.”

HT: What happens with the Cuban cosmonaut?

AR: After experiencing that anomaly, he suffers a kind of crisis which those who witness describe as his complete disappearance as a human subject. This is something that’s manifested in his disregard for life, his inability to functionally exist, his anxiety, anger and his general anguish.

HT: Why do you insist on characterizing your film short as optimistic?

AR: Although I note the limitations of the world through a character who can’t seem to exist outside of his space suit, the optimism of the short lies in its aim of rescuing the hope that everything can be different.

It’s refreshing because it suggests the possibility of doing something “extraterrestrial” in Cuba and breaking with irony and double meanings that so far have only been able to reproduce malaise.

HT: Will Intrakosmos be interesting for the Cuban audience?

AR: It might interesting for its nostalgia for the ‘80s and because I was trying to remember those years differently – not like those of Russian beef, abundance and “general well-being.” I want to recall a moment in history where not everything was based on survival, on the anthropology of discouragement, and when there existed a perspective for the future.

With Intrakosmos, Adrian Replanski is offering a science fiction film that the Cuban public isn’t used to seeing – one that prefers to rescue the utopian tradition and avoid speculation.