The presence of Cuban films at the 17th edition of The Barcelona International LGTIB Film Festival contributes to show up youth and self-confidence, characteristic elements of the audiovisuals in our Island at the present time. To start with the fiction feature, the film Santa y Andrés (Carlos Lechuga, 2016) brings us closer to a story about intolerance and prejudice, not only of sexual nature, but social and political too built on an original love story. Two very well composed characters are integrated into the most illustrious human beings in our cinema.
Another documentary film is Villa Rosa (Lázaro G.González, 2016) takes place at Caibarién, a humble fishing village in the North of the country, where an aquatic carnival is organized by the active Gay community there. The young director, based on the screenplay by Nelson Breijo, took the opportunity to investigate and reveal some criteria and experiences about many local people’s lives on the site. According to the trans Roxana Rojo (a Diva there) dyed herself in pink for the event. It’s a well-known colour and an international symbol for homoerotism.
The approach goes beyond an specific fact to address the issue far beyond the context, starting from different viewpoints that, according to the people called to contest, their professions and cultural levels are weaving a map of sexual diversity by revealing their own macro and micro stories starting the specific-local to the national ones.
The short films also deal with the research of alternative and dissident identities: Luxemburgo (Fabián Suárez, 2016) depicts the failed relationship between an obese gay and dreamy man, and a security guard working at the first McDonalds factory in Cuba. Machismo, double morality and homophobia along with pragmatism and insensitivity characterizes this approach to an specific area of Cuban society, while showing at the same time some universal aspects.
Finally, the documentary short film Batería (Damián Sainz, 2016) reveals the interior of an old military fortress in ruins, outside Havana, where homosexuals go, not just looking for sex, but also for shelter inside the walls, even with rubbish around. This is a worthy sociocultural essay and a great testimony of image and sound in order to draw a mapping from the most representative spaces taken from the outskirts, where the “diversexual “ community is relegated in Cuba, and focused on marginality and danger. In spite of this, many of them have succeeded in building up a dignified and even a nice refuge of their own.
As a way of example, many of these films are grouped within the so-called ICAIC Young Filmmakers Exhibition, but in this 17th edition of The Barcelona International LGTIB Film Festival, what it might be highly appreciated, as far as contemporary Cuban audiovisuals is concerned, is the filmmakers’ interest in reflecting the sexual diversity with its peculiar edges, and the development in this Antilles island.
Frank Padrón, Havana 2017.
Poet, narrator, essayist, Art critic and Cuban audiovisual massmedia communicator. He is specialized in Ibero-American cinema, and has taught at the International School of Cinema and TV in San Antonio de los Baños. Author of the book Different. Cinema and sexual diversity. He has also worked as a cultural promoter and in favour of the LGBTI community rights in Cuba. He is a member of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists, and the Union of Journalists in Cuba. He is a Founding Member of the Cuban Cinematographic Press Association, affiliated to the International Federation of Cinematographic Press (FIPRESCI).