When I saw him in the lobby of Chaplin, impeccable in his gray suit and handing out smiles left and right, I suspected that Reinaldo Miravalles would steal the show at the Corals night of the 35 Festival of New Latin American Cinema, and I was right: Coral of Honor for being, without doubt, the greatest living legend in action in Cuba…
I approached him about half a year ago, when we talked in his house along with Buena Fe duo and baseball player Javier Mendez, and he was kind enough to hide the fact that he did not remember me, but summed up in one word how he felt tonight: “Cheverisimo …”
He posed with whoever asked him and took refuge in the room, in a window where he found peace because everybody approached him to greet and treat him to a dose of the most expressive smile of Cuban cinema.
On a night of awards that began late and shined by the many absences – even those in charge of delivering the awards were a no show – Miravalles was the most emotional moment. When Laura de la Uz announced an interim to deliver a Coral Honor, she didn’t need to say the name for the audience to get up to cheer the legendary Melesio Capote, Cheito León o Domingo Carmona.
With his arms up, he repeated the triumphant walk that half a year ago he made at the premiere of Esther en alguna parte, a movie by Gerardo Chijona that marked his return to Cuban cinema after 19 years , with acting monsters like Enrique Molina and Daysi Granados, who just handed the award tonight .
The recognition without a preamble – deserved – seems a preamble to give him the National Film Award many consider he richly deserves, but the actor does not expect it, not least because he has for a long time been living outside of Cuba, for family reasons.
Anyway, the other Coral Honor winner this year was Juan Padrón, who has in his collection two national awards: Cinema (2008) and Humor (2004), thanks to his prolific heritage of vampires, cavemen and hilarious and brilliant mambises.
The rest of the evening highlights the unexpected harvest of the Uruguayan film The place of the son, two awards of Havana Boccaccerías by Arturo Sotto, and the Great Coral for Heli, a grim portrait of the violence in Mexico, recurring issue but always hard.
So the first Festival of New Latin American Cinema ended without its founder Alfredo Guevara, whose organizational rigor was missed almost as much as his jacket over his shoulder, but what looked like a dream, like Ivan Giroud said, turned out to be true: 533 projected feature movies in 741 screenings in 11 days, which if not a record, it is a good average…