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Cuban Film Institute: Identity beyond Images
The 50th anniversary of Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) is a perfect excuse for half- a-century review. More than 5000 productions, the emerging of a truly national cinematographic industry and the conformation of aesthetic and artistic patterns for Cuban audience would suffice to justify the rightness of a decision taken just 83 days after the triumph of the Revolution.

Adelante Online was able to get first hand testimonies from some of the founders who visited the city to participate in the XVI National Cinema Critic Workshop.

The feeling of belonging Movie maker Manuel Herrera Reyes, became famous because of his films Zafiros, locura azul –Sapphires, blue madness- (1997) and Bailando cha cha chá -Dancing cha cha chá- (2005). He joined ICAIC when he was only 17 years old and worked at Cine Cubano magazine and also as editing and direction assistant. He is currently the manager of Cuban Film Library, founded in 1961; one of the most important ones in Latin America.

“Of course I feel I belong there, that is the reason why I want it to improve it. For me, it has been everything. For some time I wrote a little but I always came back to movies because I am a movie maker since I was a child”.

Eslinda Núnez confessed she was not among the founders because “the ICAIC was very selective” though she was able to attend seminaries, debates and some other training actions. “For me it was like watching the films from a much more wide perspective: the creator’s point of view”.

However, Núñez had the privilege of acting in three of the most important Cuban movies: Memorias del subdesarrollo –Memories of Underdevelopment- (1968), Lucía (1968) and La primera carga al machete –The First Machete Charge- (1969) by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Humberto Solás and Manuel Octavio Gómez respectively. “I feel I am each of those women. You actually become the character”.

Eslinda always liked editing; her greatest concern was actors’ distortion of voices. “It is only since Manuela (1966), by Humberto Solás, that I recaptured the way we speak Spanish in Cuba, its freshness. We were more authentic”, adds.

New releases

Although it is inevitable to talk about the institution’s history, the founders and creators from other countries who collaborated with the Cuban Institute, it is worthy referring to the latest releases: Omertá, by Pável Giroud; El cuerno de la abundancia -The Horn of Abundance- by Juan Carlos Tabío; Los dioses rotos –Broken Gods- by Alberto Daranas and La anunciación –The annunciation- by Enrique Pineda Barnet.

“We are increasingly working in terms of production, promoting attention and support for young moviemakers, rescuing our film heritage and encouraging a distribution of cult and varied films so that Cuban audience could watch some of the best the international cinema”, affirmed, Pablo Pacheco, ICAIC Vice-President.

There are some other projects going on, such as Lisanka, a film by Daniel Díaz Torres; a Fernando Pérez movie about the childhood and early youth of José Martí and many others. Documentary films and cartoons production is doing very good. The last broke its historical record last year with more than 600 minutes of animated films.

“We are not happy yet but there is plenty of optimism based on actual success”, asserted Pacheco.


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