Novel by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura reached the big screen

The film Return to Ithaca, directed by Laurent Cantet, will be premiered at the Venice Film Festival at the end of August. It is based on an excerpt from The Novel of my Life, one of the most popular books of the writer, who was born in 1955.

The film deals with universal themes such as loyalty, friendship, love, hate, betrayal, fear and disappointment. In the film, Ithaca is in Central Havana and with the Malecón boardwalk in the backdrop, Cantet and Padura tell the story of Amadeo, who left Cuba when the immigration laws were very different, which they attempt to transfer to the present day.

"It is specifically about the chapter where a Cuban emigrant living in Spain returns to his country fifteen years later. I think many people will enjoy this film because my contemporaries will identify with it. It addresses the problems of those who lived at that time, much of which marked us. It's the story of a broken generation, a true chronicle of survival", the author said.

Cantet repeated the experience; he had worked with Padura on the same location in the film Seven Days in Havana. After the film premiere in the oldest film festival in the world, it will be screened in Toronto, Canada and San Sebastián, Spain. A few days later, it will be released in France, UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Brazil in late October. It will land in Havana in December for the XXXVI International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, as Padura stated, who by the way, is immersed in promoting his latest novel, Heretics (2013), published by the Tusquets publishing house.

Apparently this will be a fruitful year for the writer in terms of film adaptations of his books. He tells us that everything started when in the late nineties a Spanish filmmaker showed up at his house after reading Autumn Passage with the idea of adapting it to the cinema.

"That project was postponed and the books and future films, were presented to production companies in Italy, France, Denmark, and other countries that were interested because of the themes of the novels, which are ideal for films. However, as you know a film project is very complex and many things happen along the way. Publishing a book is not the same as writing a script for a movie. The cinema is very expensive as you know. I'll give you an example. I recently published a book in Bulgaria and the investment was minimal, if it had been a film about one of my volumes, the cost would have been extremely high. Also, the literary importance and the pretensions of a film adaptation are different, but as a creator I am very pleased and honored for these opportunities to appreciate my work from such an interesting perspective", the several times prize-winning writer commented.

Padura, who is also a critic and journalist, signed an option agreement with the known German producer Peter Nadermann, from Tornasol films, to film some of his novels.

"The man who loved dogs is still under negotiation but it seems that we will shoot with Francis Jean Jabib and the French production company Phares et Balisess", the author of The Longest Journey said.

Besides, he and his wife, the writer Lucía López Coll, have ready for production the scripts for a series for Spanish Television, based on his first novels written from 1991 to 1998.

We think there is no way the project will go bad. There will be four TV movies, an hour and a half each. The first to be released will be Winds of Lent ", he said.

"It is gratifying and flattering that foreign filmmakers are interested in Cuban literary stories although I would have preferred that Cuban filmmakers had taken the initiative," Padura concluded.

original article here