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Warhol P: I see myself as an observant person and I like to write with sincerity what I think and live first hand. I’m shy and of few words; thus it’s difficult for me to engage in conversation. For that reason, my best tool for communicating is writing. I live in Marianao, Havana and am 40 years old.

Farewell to Cuba’s 3D Home Theaters

November 5, 2013 | Print Print |

Warhol P.

The Cinema Real Sala 3D in Havana’s Vedado was one of the private cinemas that has been forced to close.

HAVANA TIMES — On November 2, Cuba’s Granma newspaper published a press note regarding the self-employed, demanding that 3D home theaters and computer game rooms be shut down immediately and claiming such businesses were never authorized (they cut people some slack, a lot of slack, and now they’re pulling in the reins).

These effect-packed films had begun arriving in our country some months ago and were something new to Cuba, even though they’ve been known by the rest of the world for many years now. We, the wretched of the earth, are behind in everything, and when I say everything, I mean it in capital letters: WE’RE BEHIND IN EVERYTHING.

I am already practically an old man and discovered the much-talked about 3D cinema only a few days ago. When I was very young, I had heard about this type of cinema and was interested in having the 3D experience. Well, I finally had the opportunity to see a 3D film, on a television in someone’s home, just before these theaters were suddenly shut down. The situation reminded me of an old, popular song, which went: “The fun’s over, the Comandante’s arrived and put an end to the party.”

I wonder why, instead of eliminating this kind of business they were unable to include it in the list of self-employment categories, which is fairly long.

I believe the fairest and most intelligent measure would have been that decision, not to destroy, overnight, the livelihood of people who have invested thousands of dollars to set up these home theaters, which are in better shape than State-run movie theaters.

In addition, they offered services you don’t see in our many theaters, like the sale of popcorn and a number of other snacks that are a real treat when you’re enjoying a good film, be it Avatar or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

I thought that perhaps the authorities didn’t like the idea that the owners of these small theaters were making some money. They are opposed to that, since everyone in this country must continue to be poor. Perhaps it bothers them they weren’t the first to come up with the idea for such a business.

What I consider shameful in this whole business is that, this late in the game, in 2013, culture authorities have made no effort to set up even one theater of this nature.

Could it be that the Cuban people do not deserve to know what 3D cinema is? I am talking about a big-screen cinema, not a home theater with a television set – these are simple, run-of-the-mill televisions that, difficult as it may be to believe, are sold in regular stores abroad, so that people may enjoy this type of cinema at home.

Unfortunately, many of our movie theaters are closed down and, currently, are ruined buildings abandoned to the elements, cinemas that, apparently, no one wants to restore, much less put into operation again.

To mention only some examples in the neighborhood of Marianao: El Gran Cine is today a warehouse and hard-currency store. El Principal, which was once a florist’s, is today in ruins, awaiting repairs, and El Cine Record has been permanently shut down.

There are many others around the capital that will never again be what they once were, let alone house a 3D projector. The question is: why?

Of course, one needn’t ask such things. It’s obvious the reason is the blockade, folks, nothing other than our own, self-imposed blockade.


What's your opinion?

  • HumbertoCapiro

    This type of response by the Castro “government” happened during the 1990’s!

    Cuba’s Economic ‘Reforms': Waiting for Fidel on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century – Roger R. Betancourt -Department of Economics, University of Maryland

    http://ideas.repec.org/p/umd/umdeco/99-008.html

  • Moses Patterson

    The reason the Castros are closing all 3D movie theaters is because of the imminent threat these businesses pose to national security. Everyone knows that after watching “The Incredibles” in 3D, the Cuban people will be provoked to civil unrest. 3D animations and the 3D action-adventure films smuggled into Cuba have been imbedded with sublimal digitized messages encouraging regime change. Thanks to the sharp-eyed counter-intelligence agents, these Empire-produced films were discovered in time. Once again, the US blockage and all-out American war against the humble people of Cuba has revealed its true face. Hopefully, HT writer Elio Delgado Legon will soon write a post explaining how Cuba’s low infant mortality and high literacy rates were threatened by this new scourge of north. Thankfully, it was stopped in time to allow the booming Cuban economy to continue its searing improvement in the lives of everyday Cubans.

  • Griffin

    The regime banned 3D film salons out of pique. Raul Castro had attempted to record a patriotic speech in 3D for distribution across the island, but alas, it still came out flat.

  • nabbey2

    “I wonder why, instead of eliminating this kind of business they were
    unable to include it in the list of self-employment categories, which is
    fairly long.”

    Easy answer if you just think about it for half a second… if the government adds one unapproved economic activity to the list of approved activity just because a bunch of people start doing it…. then chaos would ensue… because then people would just start doing whatever kind of economic activity that occurs to them and expect the government to add it to the list…. in effect it would be the same as just approving any and all economic activity… now opinions on whether they should just legalize all activity is another question… at the moment the policy is to limit activity and therefore, ignoring the theaters or simply adding them to the list wouldn’t be prudent.

    Oh, and as far as I can tell, the ruling does not say that people cannot continue showing the films, but rather they cannot charge for showing them….correct?