Justo Planas

Justo Planas

Espejuelos Oscuros: new Cuban film in production

I recall Jessica Rodríguez as a thin girl wearing a blue pre university uniform reciting nervously Cesar Vallejo´s poetry, her favorite. She used to walk with rapid steps in the hallways of the pre university school Vladimir I. Lenin chasing Lezama´s verses and running away from math. Today, we are almost 30 years old, and Jessica has gradually made come true the artistic dreams of our generation. Some of us lost their way, many others discovered new directions; but she, a teenager apprentice of artist, has become a Cuban and universal filmmaker. Some of her work, such as the documentary ‘Tacones Cercanos’, show in which she still keeps that inner feeling about her favorite poets, by Arthur Rimbaud. EspejuelosOscuros (Dark glasses), her first full-length fiction film as director, inherits that concern of her own to explore the space reserved to women in the Cuban society and in the societies of the world. This film, still in production, tells the story of four Cuban women from different epochs, who are interpreted by Laura de la Uz,and their possible relation with a man, Luis Alberto Garcia, always with society at the back. When Jessica was studying at the Audiovisual Faculty she wrote...

New book on Marti is published

Martí on the verge of a return After ten years of research, Froilan Escobar González discovered Martí on their lips, on the testimony of seven seniors who were children when they saw him land in Playitas and find death in Dos Rios. You go to Martí in search of pupils. No matter what text of his you read, political, art, chronicles, instantly comes over emotion a person who recovers sight after many years must feel. In his metaphors full of nature, we feel the universe in a different way, as if it were true, and eventually our eyes, our senses all had been used to show the experience of living in an increasingly more opaque way. We come to believe then as Plato that locked in our bodies as we are, we perceive the world only imperfectly, we are only able to notice its shadows, and we have only a dim memory of light. The written word of José Martí testifies to a soul always on the verge of exceeding the limits of the body, of a spirit that tenses physical pain and achieves sublimation beyond the stomach and daily miseries. However, creatures from another century as we are, it...

Life as it is, or a too apocalyptic view

Penumbra is a relief to all who make a living out of writing about films in Cuba. This year, we have been debating between two options: one is not to publish one single sentence on the feature films the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) and the other is to contribute to the image of sceptical executioner that is frequently associated with film writers. But the truth is, in some very recent Cuban films there has been very little to save, thy even violated some basic rules of film language ...

Ballad of Macorina

The only things we know about her is that she used to ride through Havana in a red convertible, the first female to ever do so. The "fingerprint records" proves it: the first Latin American woman to drive, which is why some believe she was mulatto and other Chinese when she was actually white, it was written all over her skin the secret of women of all races ... take the wheel of their own lives.

Macho or what??

Often, there are more studies on women. It is difficult not to find in a bookstore Cuban four or five books that address that topic. Perhaps it shows part of the machismo that has marked human societies for millennia: “the male gender doesn’t need to be researched because it enjoys a privileged position, because he knows himself and does not require the help of science like women do , since the last ones have been ignored and weak to the demands of society.”

Solas, an invocation

Just a few years ago, the director Humberto Solas left the world of the living. And as every man who has used the little time of stay which is offered, he bequeathed us a big piece of itself, preserved and reborn every time you play his movies, Lucia, his “Manuela”. Stories that will flutter from mouth to mouth until a voice brings them out and an ear capture them.

While Waiting for Marilyn Monroe

Barely a week ago the Cuban Cinematheque began to screen all the films in which Marilyn Monroe played, and this Friday three Cubans: Juan Carlos Cremata, Reynaldo Gonzalez and Manuel Herrera opened a panel to discuss the American actress. The panel and the screenings that will run through all August are named for a good reason “Marilyn, the myth.”

Philosophy of race

In a year marked by the lack of fortune of the latest productions of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that “Irremediablemente Juntos” (Hopelessly together) seems to be a turning point for several reasons. It is, first of all, a sort of reconciliation with musicals after a film like Y sin embargo (And yet..) failed to meet expectations of a people who, from the philosophical poetry of Silvio Rodriguez to the provocative rhythms of Celia Cruz, breathe, dream and think of music.