HAVANA TIMES — The Havana Film Festival has enjoyed great prestige ever since it was founded in 1979. In fact, it’s one of the most important film festivals in the world. This is illustrated by the quality of the films that are received every year and the number of countries within the region and from other places in the world that take part in this festival.
However, it’s also true, and this isn’t just my own opinion but that of many film enthusiasts, that the high spirits you could feel at previous editions is being felt less and less. Even when lines to get into movie theaters continue to be never-ending, many people still agree that they don’t compare to editions in previous years, when the festival atmosphere invaded the entire city.
This 39th edition didn’t get off to a bad start until one of the most important screenings of the Festival had to be canceled at the Charles Chaplin movie theater just two days after the festival began, the screenings of one of the most important films in the festival from Cuba competing for the Coral award: Sergio y Serguei. I say screenings because there were going to be two and these were canceled because of technical faults. Along with this film, the screening of another Cuban documentary was also canceled.
The question that anyone would ask would be whether these films had been tested before the screening. The answer to that question is “no”. It turns out that these movies can’t be played until the scheduled screening, clearly in an attempt to try and prevent the movie from leaking outside of the festival. The thing is that this technical fault caused a great deal of annoyance, and is also something that tarnishes the important event’s reputation.
I, like many others, would suggest that some way of being able to test movies and confirm there are no technical faults at the time of screening, because while it is nobody’s fault that the projector or movie player doesn’t work when it needs to, you also can’t ask the audience to not get annoyed or angry if they have gone to a movie theater to see a movie that can no longer be shown.
On the other hand, these kinds of technical faults detract from the festival’s greatness, breaking a program that has already been set out and it is a complete lack of respect for the audience who is, undoubtedly, a crucial part of the Festival and they still haven’t been given any kind of explanation yet. What we already know was all that was published in yesterday’s movie listings.