Internationally renowned actor Jorge Perugorría returns to the set once again, this time as director of the film Fatima, or the Fraternity Park (production title), film based on a shortstory written by Miguel Barnet.
Speaking to OnCuba, Rafael Rosal, assistant director of the film, said that the original text won the Juan Rulfo Prize two years ago. ” Fatima script is by Fidel Orta, son of the poet Jesus Orta Ruiz, El Indio Naborí”.
This is not the first time a story by Barnet, the current president of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) – is made into a film: the hit film La Bella del Alhambra (1989), by Enrique Pineda Barnet, is based on his novel Rachel’s Song, published in 1969.
The fourth film by Perugorría (Affinities, 2010; Chronic Love, 2012; For Sale, 2012) is a co-production between the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) and NMP-a producing company.
In the words of Rosales, “Fatima … is a drama, with moments of great hilarity. The character’s whole life passes in front of his eyes in one day. The film has many flashbacks, but the center of the film takes place in about six hours. The protagonist remembers that, as a boy, he has a vision of the Virgin of Fatima-a very Cuban vision-until today. He sees all his adolescence, his youth, and as he becomes a transvestite, with all the implications this has on his life. “
The plot of the film takes place in contemporary Cuba, from 1980 to the present. As the very title suggests, most of the filming will take place in the central Fraternity Park, and surrounding areas of Old Havana and Centro Habana.
“The part of the countryside, which supposedly takes place in Madruga (Mayabeque Province), we will shoot it in Artemisa, by the facility to go and return on the same day: we will film the house in Santa Fe, the park at Ceiba del Agua, and on the highway to Pinar del Rio, “Rosales said, adding that the production stage will be about six weeks.
“You might think that is a short film, but it is not, what happens is that we have the facility to have a single location, where most of the film happens. In addition, we have no costume change, since the story happens in one day “.
The star of the film will be Carlos Enrique Almirante (Madrigal, 2007), who will give life to Fatima. According to Rosales, it was necessary a long casting to find the face of the film. “The aspiring actors did their best, as most had never done a travesty. Almirante made a very good test, and also has the physique that the character requires: he has a face that lets you play from a 16 years old to an adult of 40. He really is facing a great challenge, because he is involved at all times in the film. “
Perugorría called to the set great figures of Cuban cinema as the first actress Mirtha Ibarra, who will play in a special performance as Olena, a friend of Fatima. Other relevant figures are Broselianda Hernandez and Nestor Jimenez, parents of the protagonist, and Thomas Cao, Fatima’s boyfriend. Other familiar faces will be the singer Cucu Diamante (Chronic Love), and actor Jazz Vila (Juan of the Dead, 2011), who will play Salmon and Katyusha, Fatima’s transvestite friends. Rounding out the cast are Mario Guerra, Patricio Wood, Leonardo Benitez, Rodolfo Faxa, René de la Cruz, Félix Beaton and Andros Perugorría, who will make small appearances in the film.
Regarding the investigation conducted by the team in the pre-production stage, Rosales said that they took criteria from many people with experience in the world of travesties. “We went to places where transvestites work, even the actors sang along to the casts of those shows, especially in the Bar of the Stars in Lawton. Girls and transvestites working there helped us a lot. “
Referring to the Cuban classic Strawberry and Chocolate (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1993), which also stars a homosexual (to be exact, played by a very young Perugorría), the assistant said that the plot of Fatima … is different.
“Diego is a intellectual gay who confronts the world that rejects him, while Fatima has low cultural level, although more than professionally, but lives in a very discriminating world. What we want to give in the film is the hardness of that rejection. “
“It is not a film about cross-dressing, not a film about homosexuals. It has a universal theme: how a human being can face difficulties in the surrounding environment, to be the person he wants. The moral of the film is that the human being should be always tolerated, above differences. To me, that’s the gist of this film, “Rosales said.
Fatima or the Fraternity Park is filmed in digital format, and will have a staff of proven worth: Alberto Granados-cinematographer- Erick Grass-Art director -, Magdalena Álvarez-Makeup Artist-, Batista-Director Livia casting-, Francisco Álvarez-Production Manager Ruben Valdes-Sound-, Julio Simoneau-Cameraman-Sanila Rodriguez-script-, and Ernan Lopez-Nussa-Music.