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Thursday, 12 July 2018
The loves and hopes of Raquel: female director of Cuban drama series interviewed
‘Of loves and hopes' comes to the Cuban small screen this summer, with a second season after its premiere in 2015. Just started to be screened this month on Cuban TV, its first season made a deep impression on the national audience and managed to sell successfully abroad too: it is ‘De amores y esperanzas', directed by Raquel González. Shown every saturday, at 8:30 p.m., by Cubavision, and produced by RTV Comercial, there are 13 episodes each an hour long, written by the director herself. 'De amores y esperanzas' represents Gonzalez's debut as director. She has had a positive initiation, because it achieved what not many TV programmes have achieved during the last few years, the demand for a second season.
The drama presents a range of common dilemmas in Cuban society, through the lawyers of a collective law firm. An area little addressed on Cuban television and that, along with the drama of human conflicts, also offers legal information, beyond the criminal law represented in the dramatized police. Viewers also learn about civil and family law through fictions based on real life cases.
Raquel is realising a dream cultivated over six years, time that she took to research the issues carefully. She said:
I do not talk about what I do not know. I live inside Cuba, and as an artist I am very observant. When you reach a certain age you have a lot of accumulated baggage and that helps when doing the work, and where you least imagine it, there is a good story in Cuba.
What made you move from performing to directing? When I studied at art school, I was interested in acting as well as directing. I directed the dubbing in several productions such as ‘Something else to dream', and had worked at ICAIC. I have never been only an actor, I have directed radio, theatre and my training as a director is self-taught, because in my generation the FAMCA was not yet established nor the schools for direction.
A mostly new cast, which combines the star performances of original actors like Irela Bravo and Edith Massola in the leading roles, and the freshness of new faces in the middle, help the audience relate the conflicts to their daily lives. The soundtrack by Silvio Rodríguez charms the audience and include almost unpublished songs from his repertoire.
In the series you notice the predominance of female characters, does this speak of a feminist trend? I'm not a feminist. I have a gender perspective because I am a woman. Garcia Marquez (El Gabo) said it at the end of the last century: this is the century of women. It is a theme that I am interested in, and because Cuban society is carried on the shoulders of Cuban women today. I also touch on child and gender violence. But I also talk about racial discrimination with the character of Jorge Enrique Caballero. I believe that the artist has a very high social responsibility, as high as politicians, work well done is sometimes worth more than a speech, I have always said it.
Is there the possibility of a third season? No, this is the last one, because for me - and I watch many series - by the third season they begin to delay events and take things to the improbable. The values of the series are then lost: that is why there will be no third season.
Are you satisfied with the quality of the series? In general, one always knows that there are things that could be better, but I am satisfied especially with my team, very professional. But I can not talk about the second series yet. I have a lot of pressure because I cannot disappoint the audience, I respect them, because I live from them, because the Cuban public needs to be reflected.
Can we expect any other new projects from you on the small screen? I have something that is about the Cuban suffragists. It is a period drama, a more expensive production, a mini series. And I have an old project of more than 20 years about the life of Tina Modotti and Juan Antonio Mella.