40th Havana Film Festival Came to An End

The 40th Havana International Film Festival concluded on Sunday with the screening in this capital of several of the award-winning films.

The present edition, held from December 6 to 16, exhibited in Cuba 373 films from 40 countries and awarded a Coral of Honor to Mexican producer Bertha Navarro and a Special Coral to the Sundance Institute of the United States.

The list of personalities of the seventh art in Havana included Serbian director Emir Kusturica; North Americans Geraldine Chaplin, Michael Moore, Matt Dillon, Spanish Iciar Bollain and Scot Paul Laverty.

Moore showed in Cuba his new documentary Fahrenheit 11/9, in which he accuses the president of his country, Donald Trump, of destroying the American dream.

While Dillon presented the most current creation of Danish director Lars von Trier, The House That Jack Built, about a serial killer embodied by the actor himself.

Argentinean director Tristan Bauer brought here an urgent work: El camino de Santiago. Desaparición y muerte de Santiago Maldonado (The Way of Santiago. Disappearance and death of Santiago Maldonado), a documentary that moved the jury of the 40th Havana Film Festival; because it granted the documentary a Special award.

This year 20 feature films, 18 raw operas, 25 documentaries, 22 shorts and medium-length films, 26 animated films, 19 unpublished scripts, 24 posters and seven films in post-production competed for the Coral Prize.

Some of the winning pieces were Pájaros de verano (Summer Birds), by Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego (Colombia, Mexico, Denmark, France), opera prima Retablo (Peru, Germany and Norway), by Alvaro Delgado and Aparicio L; and Inocencia (Innocence), by Alejandro Gil (Cuba).

The latter, won the Audience Award of the 40th edition, and among the distinguished films also stood out Joel, by Argentine director Carlos Sorin (Script Coral Award), and La noche de 12 años (A Twelve-Year Night), by Uruguayan Alvaro Brechner (Sound and Edition Coral Awards).

Both films obtained most of the Festival's Collateral Awards and, in addition, La noche de 12 años won the Glauber Rocha Prize awarded by Latin American News Agency Prensa Latina and the awards granted by Casa de las Américas and Radio Habana Cuba, the latter with the name of Roque Dalton.

Within the 40th edition of the event, several seminars took place, including one about its four decades of history, to reflect on the future of Latin American cinema, and another dedicated to outstanding Cuban director Tomas Gutierrez Alea (1928-1996), aka Titon.

Likewise, the event paid tribute to one of its founders, Argentinean filmmaker Fernando Birri, who died in December 2017.

The section of Galas exhibited feature films already awarded at several international events such as Yuli, of Bollain, and Roma (Rome), by Mexican Alfonso Cuaron, the winner this year of the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival with this piece.

The cinemas were crowded every day, the public was not intimidated by the inclemency of the weather, nor by the long queues, and still, some were not able to enter certain sessions, due to the saturation of the room; normal, rather traditional scenes of this festival.

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Colombian 'Birds of Passage' Wins Best Film at Cuban Festival

The Film received the highest award at the 40th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.

The Colombian film "Pajaros de Verano" (or Birds of Passage), directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, was crowned with the Coral prize for the best fiction film at the 40th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema held in Havana, Cuba.

RELATED: Havana Film Festival in Cuba Opens With Film About Jose Mujica

"Pajaros de Verano" is a story set in the seventies, when the cultivation and sale of marijuana brought enormous wealth, and also decadence, to some families of the Wayuu indigenous community in the Colombian department of La Guajira.

The film, which was presented at the Directors' Fortnight at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and has been shortlisted to represent Colombia at the Oscars, also received the Coral prize for best original music at the Havana Festival.


According to Jenn Sepulveda, a Colombian film critic, the film's success stems from its ability to become something more than an ethnographic description.

Its plot reconstructs the socio-cultural scenario faced by a couple of foreigners who came to La Guajira looking for cannabis. Their search, which might seem simple and trivial, ends up leading to drug trafficking, a business that merges power, violence, and death.

The story unfolds between 1975 and 1985, a time when Colombia went through episodes of violence derived from the competition between marijuana producers and cocaine traffickers.

"We looked for a feminine perspective for a genre that always tells its stories from the male voice. We looked for those silent stories they had not told us," Gallego said, as reported by Canaltrece.

‘Pájaros de verano’, la transformación del ritual

"Birds of Passage" the transformation of the ritual

At the center of that story is Ursula Pushaima, a character who embodies the female perspective from the Guajira, a matriarchal community in which strong, empowered women face everyday life within a conservative, macho society.

The film is infused with the magical realism of a culture where the value of words influences people's relationships with the dead, dreams, and nature.

"The word is a means of negotiation. It is a way through which [the Wayuu] have been able to find peace, stability, and protection, despite not having clear rules as a community," explained the female director of "Birds of Passage."

This year’s edition of Havana Film Festival, which kicked off Thursday, will screen 333 Latin American films until Dec. 16.


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The 39th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema Started

Havana, Dec 8 (Prensa Latina) The premiere in Cuba of Brazilian feature film ''O Filme da minha vida'' (The Movie of My Life), by Selton Mello, is marking today the opening of the 39th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.

The opening gala of the event will take place at Karl Marx Theater in this capital, and will begin with a concert by Camerata Romeu chamber orchestra and Cuban pianist Alejandro Falcon.

The Coral Prize of Honor will be given to Carlos Diegues, one of the representative figures of the Brazilian Cinema Novo movement, who in turn is one of the producers of 'O Filme da minha vida', a work based on the book 'Un padre de pelicula' (A Father of Film), by Chilean Antonio Skarmeta.

The cast of the feature film -set in southern Brazil in the 1960s- is comprised of actors Johnny Massaro (Tony Terranova), Vincent Cassel (Nicolas Terranova), Bruna Linzmeyer (Luna Madeira), Martha Nowill (Carmelia) and Mello (Paco).

The 39th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema will exhibit in Havana about 404 films from today until December 17.

According to the director of the Festival, Ivan Giroud, about 19 fiction feature films, 18 premier, 23 documentaries, 18 shorts and medium-length films, 16 animated films, 20 unpublished scripts and 24 posters will compete this year for the Coral Prize.

The 39th edition of the event will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Universidad del Cine, an academic institution in Argentina that has formed personalities of the Seventh Art, and in honor of the centenary of the October Revolution, it will exhibit the 1927 film entitled 'Oktyabr' (October), by Sergei Eisenstein.

The event will also pay tribute to North American film director, James Ivory, who will travel to Havana to present nine of his own fiction films, two of them with screenplays by Japanese novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro, who won the Noble Prize in Literature this year.

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