ZAPPING: Viceversa... Within the Molds of a Genre

ZAPPING: Viceversa... Within the Molds of a Genre
Fecha de publicación: 
1 April 2024
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The crudeness of some of its approaches may have disconcerted or even bothered a part of the audience of Viceversa, the Cuban soap opera running right now (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Cubavisión).

Since the first chapters we witnessed certain expressions of visual violence, which are usually not related to the genre, at least to typical or more conventional examples of the television soap opera.

That gloating in the accident, in the details of a surgical procedure... In a more traditional soap opera, these explorations are usually referred to or indirect to some extent.

A soap opera can become the epitome of meaninglessness, superficiality and impudence (enough examples can be found in the production of some countries on the continent), it can describe great events... But explicitness is usually measured in the visual concretion.

Other drama series, other formats or genres, even assuming melodramatic elements, seem more fertile ground for these relative transgressions of what the "family" audience expects at the time of the soap opera: easy entertainment, playful inclination, entanglements and gratifications...

But we live in times when generic borders are blurred. And in Cuba, with the well-known lack of resources that limit production, the traditional soap opera space must meet dissimilar demands.

Viceversa is not a classic soap opera, which does not mean that it misrepresents the essence of the genre: the fight of opposites, the ascendency of love plots. But very rarely do Cuban productions of recent times ignore other issues and motivations of their complex context.

The clear commitment to a public agenda, to the intentional recreation of more or less pressing matters of the social fabric... has extended the thematic spectrum of the Cuban soap opera, to levels unthinkable in other continental production.

Viceversa is another example: here we talk without euphemisms about drug consumption, sexual violence, prejudices due to sexual orientation, professional frustrations, conflicts of the elderly... And of course, the ups and downs of interpersonal relationships, the many realizations of love or the aftereffects of heartbreak.

Articulating everything without irreparably violating the molds of the genre seems to have been the directors' attempt.

We will get closer to the screening (which seems functional to us), to the performances of the cast, to the accuracies of the drama framework in a future comment. Viceversa still has screen time left.

For the moment it’s suitable to recognize the integrating capacity of the story, with all its complications. There are mediations, idealizations, measured constructs... We are ultimately talking about art, not journalism. The reports must be asked to the news reel program.

But the honesty and coherence of a discourse, which becomes a position before a reality, are also values of creation, in its ethical dimension. And soap operas (or their substitutes) can be very effective platforms for necessary debates.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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