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Memories of a unique childhood
The documentary titled Las colmenas (The beehives) by director Alejandro Ramirez had its Cuban premiere this week after being shown with great success in Guatemala. Award winning director Fernando Perez presented the work by the young filmmaker at Havanas 23 y 12 theatre.

To most people beehives are nothing more than the natural habitat of bees, but for the children of ex-combatants of the Guatemalan Peoples Army the word takes on a very different connotation, representing their only hope of surviving the war that affected their country for many years.

Colmenas was the name originally given to homes in Cuba and Nicaragua that, starting in 1979, were made available to mothers who were combatants and activists of the guerrilla organization so that they had a safe place to raise their children and those of other rebels.

The guerrilla war in Guatemala lasted 36 years from 1960 until peace accords were signed in 1996.

In the 52-minute film the director, one of the children who were brought up in a Cuban colmena, recalls a difficult childhood but full of teachings. He uses interviews, archives footage and testimonies to tell the story that is also his. Ramirez currently resides in Cuba and is the only beehive person who did not return permanently to Guatemala after the war ended.

The Las colmenas script was written by the director himself, in a project that he had been working on since 1997, the year he traveled to his birth country after a 17-year absence.

The film presents a wide range of opinions, testimonies and diverse reflections on the same experience of separations, losses and yearnings. It is a look at the lives of those who have two homelands; the one where they were born and Cuba.

Alejandro Ramirez is a graduate of the Audiovisual Media Communications Faculty of the Havana Institute of Higher Art (ISA). His other documentaries include DeMoler, Monteros, Montañas de Luz and he has won several awards in festivals and contests in different countries.

Source: Granma

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