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Cuban cinema is connected to revolution

02 December 2009 / 10:12:44  GRReporter
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During the last 50 years Cuban cinema has been tightly connected to the idea of revolution – throughout history the story changes in historical context and problems differ depending on the characters but the approach is the same, admits the famous director Idelfonso Ramos Valdes at a press conference in Athens during the opening of the Cuban Film Festival.

For one week people will be able to see 50 feature and documentary films, made throughout the past half century and which have won international awards. The Cuban Film Festival is organized in Greece for the first time and the occasion is the 50 year anniversary of the Art Institute and Film Industry.

Except for the films there will be some dedications to Santiago Alvarez and director Idelfonso Ramos Valdes will prepare a one day seminar for the history of Cuban cinema and for the questions, which interest people in the film industry in his country. Eleven documentaries of Santiago Alvarez will be shown on his dedication, which have received international recognition. The interesting thing in Santiago’s films is that he uses anything he can get to for his vision – posters, photos, paper cut-outs, old documentaries, scenes from other movies and editing is done after he chooses the right music – pop, blues, jazz or classical and after that based on the music he edits the video. Among Alvarez’s movies are Hasta la Victoria Siempre made 48 hours after the death of Che Guevara is announced, Cerro pelado – named after the ship, which used to transport Cuban players participating in the Olympic Games in 1968. They players were not allowed to get off the ship but finally they do it and win 11 gold medals in a total of 22 disciplines.

Mr. Valdez, who is in Athens for the Festival, is the live history of Cuban Cinema – he is one of the founders of the Art Institute and Cinema Industry and his documentaries have won many international awards. She shared that this year three feature and 12 documentary films have been made in Cuba and about 20 are planned for next year. Films like Suite Habana, El Benny, Paginas del diario de Mauricio and Los Dioses Rotos tell the best story of contemporary Cuban cinema. After Cuban cinema lived through its greatest crisis after the fall of the Berlin wall, now it is slowly reviving, shares Mr. Ramos Valdez.

Ever since 1959 when the cinema center in Cuba was created, says director Idelfonso Ramos Valdez, more documentaries are being made as opposed to feature film, because feature films require more financial means, which the state cannot afford. One of the main ideas of the movie makers movement was to distribute the cinema art among the people. Back then Fidel Castro wanted cinema to reach the ordinary citizens in all parts of the country but because there were not enough theatres, the movie directors decided to “take” cinema to the people. And so, 32 properly equipped trucks started travelling around all villages and cities in Cuba, so they can screen movies. 95% of the people saw a film for the first time in their lives and for the first year the number of viewers was over 2 million – miners, farmers and people living in places disconnected from civilization.

In Cuba cinema is connected to revolution, it is part of the process and directors talk about the change in society through their films. Along the development and Cuban movie screenings, movies from all over the world were screened too – the best films of the socialist and capitalism countries, find their places in Cuban theatres, says Mr. Valdez. Cuban directors claim their movies are the way to change the world. Typical is the statement by Julio Garcia Espinoza that “one film cannot change the world but we have to make it in such way as if it could”.

For 50 years, ever since the Art Institute and Cinema Industry exists, filmed were 170 feature films and over 1000 documentaries and also tens of animation and short films.


December 3-9, 2009; 06:30PM-12:30AM

Ticket price for all screenings per day is €7


Cinema Archive Center, Lais Cinema, 48 Iera Odos Boulevard and134-136 Megalos Alexandros

Tel.: 210 360 9695, 210 361 2046

Tags: Cuban Film Festival in Athens Idelfonso Ramos Valdez Santiago Alvarez
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