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This is documentary Titón: de La Habana a Guantanamera, written and directed by actress Mirtha Ibarra, his widow, the most sentimental reverence she has made to the person who shared 23 years of his life with her.

Screened to a jam-packed movie theater at the recently concluded Havana International Festival of New Latin American Filmmaking, with the presence of [Mirtha] Ibarra, British actress Vanessa Redgrave and her son Carlo Nero (who had been invited to the screening of her film The Fever), the documentary on Titón is a journey of personal and cinema passions through his own opinions and confessions.

With great editing, Mirtha Ibarra presented Titón, thanks to plentiful archive material, talking about all his movies, one by one and in chronological order. More than once, views offered by Titón caused rounds of applause from the over one thousand spectators at Charles Chaplin Movie Hall.

Since the documentary contains interviews in different periods, we can see a very young Titón, a mature one and a much older person, along with family photographs and snapshots of the filmmaker as a child.

The movie, which has a galloping pace, includes comments from Mirtha herself about the person who incepted a love connection with her that stood the test of time because it was always based on mutual admiration, respect and passion for art.

Titón: de La Habana a Guantanamera is a gem because the director of Memories of Underdevelopment explains his films, his outlook on cinema, his shooting style. There are moments in which he talks about life in Cuba through his movies and the other way around, as if putting apart the pieces and signals that moviegoers may have sent to him back then.

The documentary includes interviews with directors, writers and actors who worked with Titón, who is remembered by them with both admiration and respect: from actor Reinaldo Miravalles, one of the characters in Twelve Chairs who is now settled in Miami, to filmmaker Enrique Pineda Barnet and editor Nelson Rodríguez. Some say it emphatically, other with less vehemence, but they all agree: he has been the most brilliant Cuban filmmaker.

A year before this film, Mirtha Ibarra published in Spain – now in Havana – the book Titón: volver sobre mis pasos (Retracing my Steps), a compilation of the filmmaker’s correspondence with friends, colleagues and relatives revealing his ethical, esthetic and ideological concepts and depicting an intellectual, that man committed to his society who tries to be useful to it with seriousness and rigor.

Through the book and the documentary, Mirtha Ibarra may have closed a chapter with which she has settled, with sensitivity and loyalty, old sentimental and love debts to her late husband.


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