In Cuba

Habana Muda
Habana Muda
Habana Muda
With Fidel Whatever Happens
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Two very different views of Cuba now. Habana Muda: a handsome young deaf-mute has a Mexican sugar daddy help support his wife and family. In With Fidel Whatever Happens a dozy backwater prepares to celebrate the revolution!

Year: 2011
Country: Cuba, France, Serbia
Running time: 108 mins

Habana Muda

Cuba/France 2011
Director: Erich Brach
Producers: Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Farid Tourab, Eric Brach
Photography: Javier Deulofeu Labrador
Editor: Jacqueline Mariani
Music: Kelvis Ochoa, Yasek Manzano
In Spanish and Cuban Sign Language, with English subtitles
DigiBeta

With: Eglicel ‘Chino’ Gainza Furones, Jose Antonio Cordero, Anaylis Albaguez Vallejo, Elis Gainza Albaguez, Elizabeth Gainza Albaguez, Belkis Vallejo Pedroso, Jose Gainza, Martha Claudia Moreno, Jana Sosnowski Moreno, Jose Manuel Marquez
Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2011
61 minutes

This frank documentary account of complications in the personal life of a poor, young, Havana husband and father sheds surprising light on life in Cuba today. Director Erich Brach spent three years in Havana filming Chino, a deaf-mute who works on a farm to support his feisty wife Anaylis (also deaf) and their two children. Chino, with his crooked porn star smoulder, also hooks up regularly with Jose, a gay visitor from Mexico City. Smitten, Jose offers tantalising prospects of opportunities in Mexico, and provides generous gifts to Chino, to his children and to a bemused Anaylis as well. We meet the wider circles of all three and see how unsettling this relationship is for everyone concerned, the gallant coloniser included, and yet how very unpredictable and tenacious love can be. Brach’s eye is attentive to the eloquent sign language of his subjects. He is a sympathetic and non-judgemental observer, discreetly unpacking a complex nest of hopes and dreams. The sensual allure of their island culture informs every beautiful frame. — BG

With Fidel Whatever Happens
Con Fidel pase lo que pase

Serbia 2011
Director: Goran Radovanović
Producer: Jesenka Jasniger
Photography: José Manuel Alguacil, Cláudia Alves
Editors: Andrija Zafranović, Maja Kokić
In Spanish with English subtitles
Blu-ray
Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2011
47 minutes

Several inhabitants of Sierra Maestra, Cuba, 850 km east of Havana, are observed as they go quietly about their lives the day before the national hoopla for the 52nd anniversary of the revolution. It takes a long time to achieve a little in lovely Sierra Maestra. A young man takes the better part of his day getting to his workplace on a remote mountain. The bus isn’t running, so he has to hitch a ride on horseback and wade through a river. A client named Vladimir Ilich Rodriguez is patiently waiting. A middle-aged couple with a public telephone in their modest house sit eavesdropping while a succession of visitors stop by to make their calls. The following day all will be caught up in triumphant celebration of the glorious revolution that’s left them living in a land consumerism forgot. Even the bull-horns that blast out ideological slogans on the big day are 52 years old. Elegantly framed at a respectful remove from its subjects, Serbian filmmaker Goran Radovanović’s sardonic picture of ‘the last days of Fidelism’ achieves a unique mix of compassion and irony. — BG