Havana Film Festival just around the corner

The countries with the largest representation competing in all the Festival categories and which are traditional Coral Prize winners include Brazil, with 25 films, Mexico with 24 and Argentina with 18.

In the Fiction category, movie-lovers will find familiar names, such as Argentine Carlos Sorín, with his film El gato desaparece; Brazilian Karin Ainouz, with El abismo plateado, and Jose Padiha, with Tropa de élite 2, and also Mexican Gerardo Naranjo, with Miss Bala.

Other contenders within this category are Chilean Sebastián Lelio, with El año del tigre and Ecuadorian Tania Hermida with En el nombre de la hija, without mentioning other films from Colombia and Venezuela.

Cuba is well represented in the competition with feature films such as Juan de los muertos by Alejandro Brugués; Chamaco by Juan Carlos Cremata; Fábula by Lester Hamlet, and Marina, by Enrique Alvárez. Meanwhile, Ian Padrón's Habanastation is competing for a Coral in the First work category.

In other categories, the host country is competing in Documentaries with Ausencia, Armando Capó and Estonia (co-produced with Italy), Lucas Bonolo. In the Animation category, with Invertebrados, Harold Díaz-Guzmán; La cabeza, Ivette Ávila and Ramiro Zardoya; La segunda muerte del hombre útil, Adrián Replanski; Niños imaginarios, Alien Ma Alonso; Wajiros, Ernesto Piña; and El camino de las gaviotas, Alexander Rodríguez, Bárbaro Joel Ortiz, Sergio Glenes and Daniel Herthel.


Guevara also announced that in this edition, the festival is honored to pay tribute to three outstanding figures of continental and universal stature: 1982 Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, Cuban filmmaker Humberto Solás and Chilean outstanding artist Roberto Matta on the centenary of his birth.

The tribute to García Márquez, a great supporter of Latin American cinema, includes a retrospective of films based on his works, including: La mala hora (2005), Brazilian Ruy Guerra; La viuda de Montiel, directed by Chilean Miguel Littín in 1979; Cartas del parque, shot in 1988 by the deceased Cuban filmmaker Tomás Gutiérrez Alea; Edipo Alcalde (1996), by Colombian Jorge Alí Triana; El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (1999), by Mexican Arturo Ripstein, and Del amor y otros demonios (2009) by Costa Rican Hilda Hidalgo.

As in previous festivals, García Márquez, one of the founders of the San Antonio de los Baños International School of Cinema and Television — which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary — will lead a workshop on scriptwriting, entitled "Como se cuenta un cuento" (How to Tell a Story).

As regards the tribute to Solás, who would have had his 70th birthday this year, Alfredo Guevara announced that for the first time Cuban movie theaters will exhibit the three-chapter Solás series Los fuegos de la Revolución; La sangre de los pueblos and Explosión en la Catedral, adapted from Alejo Carpentier's novel Explosion in a Cathedral.

The films to be shown in honor of Roberto Matta, one of the major representatives of surrealism, are documentaries from Chilean Claudio Alfonso Marchant, El último gol de Matta; Pablo Basalto with Matta, un siglo D´mente and Hugo Arévalo, Roberto Matta-puerta a otra dimension, and also U.S. Jane Crawford with Matta: the Eye of the Surrealist.

An valuable addition to this year's Festival is an exhibition in the Casa de América's Latin American Gallery of valuable works by Matta, part of the Arte de Nuestra América collection and among which is the poster depicting this 33rd Festival.


Popular screenings are also present in this edition, namely Panorama Latinoamericano (Latin America Panorma), Hecho en Cuba (Made in Cuba), Latinos en USA (Latinos in the U.S.), Cine Fantástico y de Horror (Fantasy and Horror Cinema), Panorama Contemporáneo Internacional (International Contemporary Panorama), and film showings from Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Canada (Quebec) and for the first time, from Serbia.

Also important are the films not in competition, such as from Venezuela, Días de poder, by the eminent director Romás Chalbaud, and Reverón by Diego Risquez; from Argentina, Tierra sublevada-Oro impuro (2010) and Tierra sublevada II-Oro negro (2011) by Fernando (Pino) Solanas.

Expectations are high as regards the screening of Siete días en La Habana (a Spanish-French co-production), which comprises seven short features filmed in Havana by Laurent Cardet, Pablo Trapero, Elia Suleiman, Julio Medem, Gaspar Noé, Juan Carlos Tabío, and also Benicio Del Toro, working as a director for the first time.

Among all the films to be screened, there are four special ones: a restored copy of the futurist film Metropolis (1927), by Fritz Lang, considered a vanguard representative of German expressionism in cinema; A Trip to the Moon (1902), by Georges Méliès, on the occasion of the 150th birthday of this pioneer of cinema; Sing Your Song, by Susane Rostock, on Harry Belafonte's contribution to the U.S. civil rights movement; and Verdades verdaderas. La vida de Estela, by Nicolás Gil, on the life of Estela Barnes de Carlotto, president of the Plaza de Mayo Abuelas.

There is a space that seems to have become permanent: From Hollywood to Havana, the Academy presents…, which will screen Bordertown (2006) by Gregory Nava, and Cool Hand Luke (1967) by Stuart Rosenberg.


The Festival also has its theoretical side. The Festival is to include the series (Bridges and more Bridges: Latinos in the United States and El universo audiovisual de la niñez latinoamericana (The Audiovisual World of Latin American Childhood). Within this latter space, films for the younger generation will be shown with the presentation of the Garabato Prize, awarded by a jury of children who are members of the International Childhood Forum and its Audio-visual Universe, a project within the Havana City Historian's Office.

Members of the Fiction jury include Chilean director Orlando Lubbert (Un taxi para tres), Brazilian actress Patricia Pillar, Argentine director Alberto Lecci (Nueces para el amor), Puerto Rican producer Ramón Almodóvar and Cuban author and screen writer Senel Paz.

Although it does not always happen, this time there is no mystery as to which film will be opening the Festival. Guevara announced that it is the Argentine movie Un cuento chino — directed by Sebastián Borensztein, with widely known and admired actor Ricardo Darín in the leading role — which is competing for a Coral prize.

Hectic days are approaching for Cuban moviegoers with hurricane winds provoked by the tension of choosing from among more than 500 films…

link to original report

Details of festival see http://www.habanafilmfestival.com/