January 23rd, 2009 by omar , 1 CommentPrint This Post
Shouts to Asho, once again for this one. Check out more info and a full schedule below and after the jump…
Cuba In Harlem: A Documentary Retrospective
From January 23 – 31st, The Maysles Cinema, a new movie house in Harlem dedicated to the exhibition of documentary film and video, presents “Cuba in Harlem: A Documentary Retrospective,” co-sponsored with the Center for Cuban Studies. January 1st, 2009, marked the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and the first anniversary without Fidel Castro front and center. Fifty years of revolution, and 50 years of unresolved conflict between the United States and Cuba is the context for this documentary series that presents many highlights from the rich catalog of documentary films produced over the last fifty years about Cuba from within the two countries.
Hundreds of documentaries have been made about Cuba in the last 50 years in the United States alone; the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) has also produced hundreds. U.S. documentaries have tended to be more expository, efforts at sweeping statements and historical analysis, attempts to explain the Cuban Revolution to a U.S. audience from a particular, usually passionate, perspective. Cuban documentaries often employ the short form strategies, zeroing in on something very specific — a portrait, a historical incident, a political argument, a slice of daily life. U.S. documentary filmmakers have historically enjoyed the relative luxury of shooting many hours and then editing, while Cuban filmmakers have often had to “edit” in advance, shooting with the documentary already sketched out, the expected limitations of an economy of scarcity.
The subjects covered in these documentaries hit both the high and low notes: Fidel Castro, of course (both Saul Landau’s Fidel and Estela Bravo’s Fidel will be shown); the Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis (The October Crisis is one of the few subtitled Cuban docs), family separation (Bravo’s Miami-Havana and a Cuban group documentary about Operation Peter Pan, The Other Side of the Glass) drag queens (Margaret Gilpin and Luis Felipe Bernaza’s Butterflies on the Scaffolding), baseball (Ian Padron’s Dreaming in Blue), cultural life (Bette Wanderman’s A Cuban Legend, Laurie Ann Schag and Casey Stoll’s Great Day in Havana), Hip Hop, Emilia Menocal and Jauretsi Saizrbitoria’s East of Havana, the 1961 Literacy Campaign (The War on Illiteracy), and more.
The films shown will whet the appetite of viewers, who should think of these documentaries as only an introduction to the fascinating and frustrating history of Cuba in the last 50 years.
[Notes by Sandra Levinson, Executive Director, Center for Cuban Studies]
Screenings are open to the public at the suggested but not required donation of $7.
Center for Cuban Studies members can purchase series passes for for $50.00
Non members, $65.00.
Cuba in Harlem proceeds will go toward rebuilding the Gibara Cultural Center in Holguin, Cuba. The Center is the site of the annual Cine Pobre Festival of independent films. The Gibara Cultural Center was destroyed during the recent series of three hurricanes (Gustav, Ike, Paloma). The Center for Cuban Studies, working with a group of Cuban artists led by actor Jorge Perugorría (star of “Strawberry and Chocolate” and most recently seen in Steven Soderberg’s “Che”) is working to make the Gibara Cultural Center once again a reality.
Opening and closing receptions include complimentary Cuban drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Some of the Cuban Film Institute’s most beautiful and iconic graphic posters will be available for viewing and purchase throughout the festival.
The Maysles Cinema is located at 343 Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard at 127th Street. Please direct all press, requests for reservations, and series passes to email@example.com, or contact Philip Maysles at 212-582-6050 ext 218.
Today Friday, January 23rd (7-10pm)
With Opening Reception
Cuba: Caminos de la Revolucion
5 min. Excerpt of Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra before taking power.
Dir. Victor Pahlen (1959) 20 min. segment
Pahlen, a Hollywood producer ends up in the middle of the revolution with Errol Flynn.
Dir. Robert Drew (1960) 20 min.
This 20-minute segment documents the early relationship between the Cuban Revolution and the U.S.
The War on Illiteracy
(2008) 33 min.
On arguably the greatest single achievement of the Cuban Revolution
Crisis de Octubre
This Cuban documentary covers the scariest moment in U.S.-Cuba relations – The Missile Crisis of October 1962.
Saturday, January 24th (1-6 pm)
Dir. Saul Landau. (1969) 95 min.
More than a portrait of Fidel, a portrait of the revolution at year 10, narrated by Fidel.
Cuba and Fidel
Dir. Saul Landau (1974) 24 min.
Fidel Castro’s Relationship to Cuba
The Uncompromising Revolution
Dir. Saul Landau (1988) 54 min.
Nearly 20 years later, Landau and Castro take up where they left off, discussing the many problems encountered in the course of the nearly 30 years of revolution.
Quietos Ya, (Hold It Now!)
Dir. Guillermo Torres (1988) 10 min.
This short is about the street photographers in Havana’s Parque Central.
Revolucion: Five Visions
Dir. Nicole Catell. (2006) 57 min.
Portraits of five Cuban photographers and their very different takes on the Cuban Revolution.
Dir. available for Q&A
Mama se va a la guerra (Mama Goes to War)
Dir. Guillermo Centeno (1984) 16 min. (Spanish)
Ordinary Cuban women being trained for the “people’s militia.”
Dir. Enrique Colina. (1985) 11 min. (Spanish)
Cuba’s leading film historian takes a turn as director to look at popular beauty customs.
Saturday, January 24th (7-10 pm)
Dir. Estela Bravo (1992,) 91 min.
Criticized as nothing more than a love poem to Fidel Castro, the film is a necessary corrective for U.S. audiences.
The Man of Two Havanas
Dir. Vivien Lesnik Weisman (2007) 96 min.
A Cuban American daughter’s effort to understand her father’s passion for his native land.
Sunday, January 25th (1-5pm)
Dir. Toshi Matsushita (1995) 38 min.
A musical travelogue.
Dir. Estela Bravo (1992) 60 min.
A moving documentary about one of the saddest results of the Cuban Revolution – divided families, divided loyalties, divided politics.
Los Zafiros: Music from the Edge of Time
Dir Lorenzo DeStefano. (2007) 80 min.)
Portrait of a famous pop group (the “Sapphires”) at the beginning of the revolution.
“El otro lado de cristal” (The Other Side of the Glass)
Dirs. Guillermo Centeno and Maria Ochoa (1995) 60 min.
A documentary about “Operation Peter Pan” which brought thousands of Cuban children to the U.S. without their parents.
Monday, January 26th (7-10 pm)
Dir. Roberto Chile (2008) 16 min.
Artist Kcho forms a construction and artistic brigade to help rebuild destruction wrought by the 2008 hurricanes on the Isle of Youth.
Jose Fuster: Guajiro de la costa (Fuster: Farmer from the Coast)
Dir Roberto Chile. (2004) 8 min.
A portrait of one of Cuba’s best-loved artists, often called the Picasso of the Caribbean.
Dir. Marisol Trujillo. (1988) 15 min. (Spanish)
Manuel Mendive on how his first trip to Africa inspired his painting.
A Cuban Legend: The Story of Salvador Gonzalez
Dir. Bette Wanderman. (2005) 80 min.
This is as much about the Santeria religion which Salvador practices as it is about the artist.
Dir available for Q & A
Tuesday, January 27th (7-10 pm)
Great Day in Havana
Dirs. Laurie Ann Schag and Casey Stoll (2001) 83 min.
Several of Cuba’s best artists and musicians talk about the ups and downs of Cuban cultural life.
Dir. Fernando Perez. (2003) 87 min.
Perez follows several Habaneros through their “lucha en la calle” typical day.
Wednesday, January 28th, (7-10 pm)
The New York Film and Video Council Screening
With a Stroke of the Chaveta
Dir. Pamela Sporn (2007) 28 minutes
The practice of reading classic works of literature to workers at cigar factories dates back to the mid-1800s. With a Stroke of the Chaveta explores this tradition.
East of Havana
Dir. Emilia Menocal, Jauretsi Saizrbitoria (82 min)
East of Havana is a blunt, unflinching close-up on the lives and friendship of three young rappers compelled to address their generation’s future.
Dir. Jauretsi Saizarbitoria and Cuban Hip Hop artist and expert Ariel Fernandez will be available for Q&A
Thursday, January 29th (7-10:30 pm)
Dir. Connie Field (2006) 93 min.
This film outlines Cuba’s commitment to international solidarity in the medical field.
Dir. Cecilia Domeyko (2002) 86 min.
This portrait of the all-woman orchestra, Camerata Romeu (director Zenaida Romeu) is also a look at how different families live in Cuba today.
Sonata for the Left Hand
Dir. Sarah Harbin. (1999) 20 min.
New York piano tuner Benjamin Treuhaft takes pianos and fellow tuners to Cuba.
Ben Treuhaft available for Q&A
Friday, January 30th (7-10 pm)
El que siempre pierda (The One Who Always Loses)
Dir. Guillermo Torres. (1988) 8 min. (Spanish)
A look at umpires who work with Cuban teams.
Fuera de Liga (Dreaming in Blue)
Dir. Ian Padron. (2008) 70 min.
This documentary about Cuba’s national sport won first prize at the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2008 film festival.
Mariposas en el Andamio (Butterflies on the Scaffolding)
Dirs. Margaret Gilpin and Luis Felipe Bernaza. (1995) 74 min.
A delightful look at drag queens in the working class community of La Guinera.
Dirs. available for Q&A
Saturday, January 31 (1-5 pm)
With Closing Reception
Films of Santiago Alvarez
Ciclón (1963), 22 min
The great director’s first important film, about the terrible devastation wrought by Hurricane Flora, foreshadows many of his documentary techniques, such as the use of images so strong that dialogue is unnecessary.
Now! (1965) 6 min
Images of the U.S. civil rights movement to the music of Lena Horne’s “Now!”
79 Primaveras (1969) 25 min
Alvarez was on assignment to film the funeral of Ho Chi Minh , and from that came this astonishing documentary which weaves the life of Ho through images of the horrific destruction the U.S. brought to Vietnam.
History of a Plaza (1988) 59min.
The building and making of Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución is both a profile of this historic public square and a history of the Cuban Revolution, with amazing documentary footage of the most important events that have taken place there.
Pablo Milanes en vivo (Pablo Milanes Live)
A 2004 concert in Plaza España, Santo Domingo.
For a full schedule: