Interview with Cuban director Alfredo Ureta about his latest film 'The Mole's Den'

"I don't know if it is a coincidence or if I really like this type of lonely and self-marginalized characters for their incapacity to communicate socially," said Ureta, whose first movie La Mirada, also deals with the solitude of its main character, also performed by Nestor Jimenez.

Ureta added that he was inspired by a person he knows "whose hermit life motivated me to think what could happen to someone like him if someday he had to face a suppressive conflict, which would force him to break his routine and his lack of communication all of a sudden."

To Nestor Jimenez, who has worked with Ureta in video clips like Quien fue? by Cuban singer Haila -receiving the 2008 Lucas Award for best performance- working with Ureta has been a real pleasure. He admits that he had to build up his character in a different fashion this time, almost from the internal monologue, so they worked alone almost all the time.

Ureta said that building the mole's character was an interesting experience "and I thank him, in the first place, because we are friends, and secondly, for his excellence performance."

Cuban actor Héctor Hechemendía, who plays a small character in the film, was able to experience the creative atmosphere of the filming process. This was also vital for actress Ketty de la Iglesia, who had to work intensively to express -without saying a word- all the anxiety of a woman marked by her husband's abuse, performed by Rafael Lahera.

The film was produced by the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT) which has also contributed in financing films like Viva Cuba and Habanastation, and is now involved in the production of the full length film Cuatro Esquinas, by Pedrito Rodriguez.

Regarding this cooperation, Ureta said that "there can be effective cooperation between independent producers and institutions; this film is a good example of this."

-Did making several video clips influence your further work as filmmaker?

-I never thought I would make any music videos since my training was to make movies, first as camera assistant, later as cameraman, until I had the possibility of participating with Raul Perez Ureta in a film by Daniel Diaz Torres. When I was given the chance of making music videos, I took it since it was a difficult moment to make movies. This has been very useful for me since I have been in constant training and it has been maybe the closest via I found for my self professional realization, doing something similar to cinema.

«In my video clips, I always try to tell a story, and I even use the same production system of cinema, but I have always kept the need of expressing my prime motivations for this art. That's why I decided to make La Mirada first and then La guarida…. which, thanks to the Haciendo Cine (Making Cinema) award of the New Artists Showcase, it was speeded up, and here it is».

-Do you think this is a good moment for the young generation to make films?

-I think that there is a combination of factors. There is no doubt that music videos helped me develop as a filmmaker and to get my work out there. Additionally, ICAIC production has increased, which has been greatly influenced by the music video production, since it has contributed to the training of many people who have gained respect in the audiovisual field, and not only filmmakers, but also camera and sound technicians.

-What are your expectations concerning La guarida…?

-I want people to leave the cinema taking a story home, and internalizing the complexities of each character. Maybe the solitudes, the silences, the slower tempo may allow us get more involved in the situations they are going through. I wanted to detach from a quintessential Cuban cinema excessively focused on the everyday life to lay more emphasis in the characters and their conflicts.

For original interview/report click here