Havana beats to the rhythm of its Festival

Havana beats to the rhythm of its Festival
Fecha de publicación: 
14 December 2023
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Havana beats to the rhythm of its International Festival of New Latin American Cinema. The 44th edition of the event, one of the popular cultural events in Cuba, hosts almost two hundred works in its official selection, which compete for the legendary Coral Awards in several categories.

But the Festival goes far beyond its main screening. It is a fact. It is felt like a party. And the strong winds of the economic crisis, which obviously marks the dynamics of the event, does not prevent the spirit of the celebration from waning.

Okay, there are fewer cinemas involved. The lines are no longer that long (although there are movies that attract many viewers). It is a more austere festival. But the movement from cinema to cinema continues as well as the debates before or at the end of the screenings, and the rounds of applause after some screenings.

It is the environment that many international filmmakers have celebrated again and again. Large movie theaters are not common in the world right now, so discovering an audience and balconies full of an expectant audience is a unique experience for quite a few filmmakers and actors.

It is the usual Festival... a renewed festival. For the first time, cinema takes to the streets in a big way. The famous 23rd Avenue, the main cinema street in Cuba, is closed to motorized traffic in part of its route, between the Chaplin and 23 y 12 movie theaters, so that pedestrians can enjoy open-air screenings and concerts with popular singers.

It is a project that extends to several provincial capitals in the country, in an effort for the contest to go beyond its usual venues.

Along with the great bands and soloists that perform on stage, people can enjoy films that have won awards in previous editions of the Festival, as well as animated films and shorts, on screens. There will be several options every night until closing on Sunday.

The International Festival of New Latin American Cinema consolidates itself as a reference for the best of film production in the region. Just review the schedule and check the number of applications that were left out of the selection.

Here the legacy of the founders is honored: not making concessions to a banal and sugar-coated creations. Cinema as art. Cinema as a space of multiple confluences. Cinema as a mobilizing idea.

But the biggest award goes to the public, the main entertainer of the party. This festival must be defended against all tides. It is the celebration of all those who love cinema, of which there are still legions in Cuba.

Tribute to Buñuel

Four decades ago one of the most disturbing directors of the 20th century died: Spanish Luis Buñuel. The International Festival of New Latin American Cinema paid tribute to him with the screening this Sunday at the Movie Theaters 23 y 12 of the documentary Buñuel, a surrealist filmmaker, by his compatriot Javier Espada. It is a journey through the dream universe and the unmistakable aesthetics of an artist who built bridges between Europe and Latin America. We start from a certainty: we will never fully know Buñuel's art. It is a universe full of surprises.

An unknown filmmaker?

Landrián, by Ernesto Daranas, is a tribute to filmmaker Nicolás Guillén Landrián, who died 20 years ago. Perhaps a good part of the public does not have references from this director, but in the academic field he is recognized for his avant-garde recreation of the nation's cultural and spiritual heritage. The documentary, which is included in the official selection, can help pay off a debt.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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