Destination Havana

ByProma Chakraborty

Apr 4, 2019

A Cuban film festival with a stellar lineup of films documents and explores stories from that intriguing country

Best buddies Malu and Jorgito’s friendship is threatened by their parents’ differences. Malu belongs to an upper-class family and her single mother stops her from playing with Jorgito whose mother is a poor socialist that is proud of her family’s social standing. In other words, they are arch enemies. On learning that Malu’s mother is planning to leave Cuba, the friends decide to travel to the other side of the island to find Malu’s father and persuade him to let her stay.

Exploring emigration through two children from diverse backgrounds, Viva Cuba was the first Cuban film to be awarded the Grand Prix Écrans Juniors for children’s cinema at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

Opening with this award-winning film, the Embassy of Cuba presents a Cuban Film Festival in which different film festivals of the island are screened from different perspectives, depicting the reality of the Cuban society.

Different activities will be held throughout the year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Cuba and India, which will be held on January 12, 2020. As a part of this celebration, the film festival will screen seven films from Cuba in the entire month of April.

Following the opening film, the festival will also screen Clandestine (1987), which chronicles the last days of the revolutionary struggle against Fulgencio Batista in Cuba shown by two clandestine fighters who work on an underground printing press used to print subversive pamphlets against the government.

Two films featuring the story of eminent Cubans are also part of the lineup. El Benny – based on the life of singer Benny Moré and Jose Marti “The Eye of the Canary”  — focusing on the life of José Julián Martí Pérez.

The lineup also includes The Old House, Kangamba – a brilliant war film and finally closes with a 1977 film —The Teacher.

“There’s everything in Cuban cinema for the last 60 years, mostly produced and created under the umbrella of ICAIC. Cinema with a strong imprint of the documentary, in which there is no shortage of historical reenactments, hilarious comedies and others in which laughter takes turns with the tragedy. Difficult lives, insights and heresies, and in whose future, they reflect-in themes the booms and crises, approaches, even the state spirit that has lived in these decades the Cuban nation,” reads a note of the festival.

The festival will be screened at the India International Centre from April 8 to 26.