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Francisco Castro: I was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1984 and I have lived in Havana since I started studying at the Higher Art Institute in 2004. Being a homosexual in a traditionally homophobic society and not hiding it automatically turned me into a revolutionary. As a young person convinced that other people can always be better, makes me live in the middle of a thorny garden, and I get hurt a lot. So I decided to find a machete and cut each branch and do it here, right smack in the garden. The one where I was born, that I love more all the time by choice, because it’s mine. My life is that search, that of the machete. I also seek help, to find it and to clean the garden.

The Eloquent Image

February 2, 2013 | Print Print |

Francisco Castro

HAVANA TIMES — A boy, no older than six years old, is riding on his tricycle. The zoom begins to pull backwards and we discover the child is in the hall of a building. The shot begins opening up even more, until on the left we can see a sign reading “Do Not Enter.”

The child is going in circles on his little scooter. He’s alone. The reverse zoom stops when a huge hole in the floor enters the shot. The camera tilts so that we can see — downstairs, through the gap — some teenagers are playing with a ball.

These images are from the film “La pelicula de Ana”. Though the movie deals with prostitution in all its forms, I’m making this comment based on the shots described above.

The meanings found in those images are infinite, as many as the viewers might have. Likewise, they may or may not be in sync with the original idea of the director – this is the wonder of art.

After seeing those images, a gust of meaning came to my mind, all contributing to a synthesis of the idea of homeland…and not of just any country, but of Cuba – ours, the film’s authors and mine.

Cuba today, that building, the future, a child going in circles upstairs. It’s the future on the brink of an abyss. Downstairs is the present. The present that’s only about chasing an elusive ball, an evasive one, bouncing from side to side, up and down, always chased but never caught.

Concerning this present, and facing this future, is the latent and visible threat of imminent collapse. It is an image of the peremptory in an atmosphere of uncertainty…the signs of change, the warnings of danger.

The movie is a masterful summary of what we are, of the state of affairs, of things to come. It is the eloquence of an image as a demonstration of mastery in the craft.

La Pelicula de Ana / Cuba, 2012. / 100’ / Daniel Diaz Torres / Laura de la Uz, Yuliet Cruz, Thomas Cao, Michel Ostrowski / Drama, 16 years and older. / An actress without much professional luck becomes the director of a video and films an unusual documentary, in which she’s included among its protagonists.

Awards at the 2012 Havana Film Festival:

• Laura de la Uz (Best Actress)
• Eduardo del Llano and Daniel Díaz Torres (Best Screenplay)

Side Awards:

• Cultural journalists of the UPEC Cuban journalist’s circle.
• Distribution for Amazonia Films.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    Yet another Cuban film about prostitution set in contemporary Cuba? Why don’t Cuban films venture into other topics? How about medical mystery, or a government cover-up for example. How about a docu-drama surrounding an historical figure or a period piece done as a musical. Even science-fiction would be a change from the norm of dramas set in Havana covering homosexuality, prostitution or poverty. It seems Cuban cinema is stuck in the same place. The lack of imagination can not be just a reflection of minimal resources. Thousands of low-budget films are made in America every year and they cover a much wider variety of themes. Why the same focus over and over again?

    • Griffin

      Sci-fi? How about “Juan of the Dead”?

      Perhaps you would like to see a medical mystery combined with a government cover-up? Let’s see… how about a political thriller about a populist president from some random, unnamed South American country, who comes to Havana for a “medical procedure”… complications arise, his rule is threatened while powerful factions battle for control of his country? Toss in the usual double-crosses, plot twists, a cholera epidemic stalking the land, and vague hints of an aging general stage-managing the whole thing.

      Too far fetched? Or maybe, just too close to home…