On This Month’s Webinars & Current Cuba Films

Webinars:

For the three U.S. -Cuba Normalization Webinars being held this month:
* On Cuban trained doctors – confronting COVID-19 in Cuba, abroad and in the US
* Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of President Fidel Castro’s Historic NY Visit
* Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Cuban Women’s Federation and 20 years of the US Women and Cuba Collaboration
see the bottom of the Zoom Support Page.

Films+:

(click to enlarge, l to r) René González of the Cuban Five, from Hubert Sauper’s Epicentro, iconic singer/songwriter and Cuban Literacy brigadista Silvio Rodriguez, Eliades Ochoa of the Buena Vista Social Club, from El Último Balsero (The Last Rafter), Author and Poet José Lezama Lima

* Interview with René González, a member of the Cuban Five who spent 13 years in a US prison and whose real life experience inspired the Netflix film The Wasp Network.                  “A very good interview.” — John Waller

* Epicentro — The blurb reads: “Epicentro is an immersive and metaphorical portrait of post-colonial, ‘utopian’ Cuba, where the 1898 explosion of the USS Maine still resonates. This Big Bang ended Spanish colonial dominance in the Americas and ushered in the era of the American Empire. At the same time and place, a powerful tool of conquest was born: cinema as propaganda. In his latest film, Oscar-nominated director Hubert Sauper (Darwin’s Nightmare) explores a century of interventionism and myth-making together with the extraordinary people of Havana—who he calls ‘young prophets’—to interrogate time, imperialism and cinema itself.” See reviews in Sunday’s Boston Globe, New York Times, People’s World, RogerEbert.com, RottenTomatoes.com. Viewable via Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Virtual Theatre option – coolidge.org/films/epicentro — site includes link to trailer and sign-in, $12, available for 48 hours after you start watching; also includes link for livestreamed Q&A with director Hubert Sauper from September 5.
Film is available via Kino Marquee, a new initiative that creates “virtual cinemas” for temporarily closed independent theaters. Epicentro site on KinoMarquee.com includes list of all participating theatres across the country.

“Silvio & el Poder de La Palabra” Film Debut & Concert
Sunday, September 20, 8:00 pm Eastern
Catherine Murphy‘s latest documentary, Silvio Rodriguez: Mi primera tarea (My first calling), is being distributed by The Literacy Project and has its premiere at this event. The 25-minute film weaves archival footage of the Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961 and a rare, exclusive interview with Cuba’s iconic singer/songwriter and international recording artist, Silvio Rodriguez, as he recounts his first calling. At the age of 14, Silvio volunteered to join the brigade of over one hundred thousand teenagers that went into the Cuban mountains and countryside to teach rural campesinos how to read and write. In the interview, Silvio shares his memories on how he was impacted by the experience and how it shaped his life. Check out the 1-minute trailer.
xxxxxThe event “Silvio & el Poder de La Palabra” is a collaboration of The Literacy Project & HotHouseGlobal, who presented the Concert for Cuba this past July. It combines the debut screening with a tribute concert to Silvio. Concert artists listed on the Event Page — general admission is free, register here

From this year’s Boston Latino International Film Festival

* Eliades Ochoa: From Cuba to The World
Streaming Thursday 9/24 @ 7pm – Saturday 9/26 @ 9pm
He became known the world over in the late 90’s as an original member of legendary Cuban band, Buena Vista Social Club. But Eliades Ochoa’s passion for his country’s musical heritage led him to pursue a life dedicated to music much earlier than that. He began by playing his guitar on the streets of Eastern Cuba, then joined a slew of folk groups, until finally the success of Buena Vista Social Club came along.

* El Último Balsero (The Last Rafter)
Streaming Friday, 9/25 @ 7pm – Sunday, 9/27 @ 8:30pm
After risking his life crossing the Florida Straits on a raft, a young Cuban searches Miami for his missing father. When a political shift makes him America’s first Cuban undocumented immigrant, he must battle the new and bigger fear of deportation, while unraveling a past of intolerance and hate that haunts him. Trailer here.

* And if you are of a mind, “Letters to Eloisa”
Streaming Friday, 9/25 @ 3pm – Sunday 9/27 @ 4:30pm 
Blurb reads: “Centered on the remarkable letters by José Lezama Lima to his sister living in exile in the United States, this feature length documentary tells the story of the Cuban writer’s life and work. Once hailed as Cuba’s most influential writer Lezama was censored, ostracized, forbidden to travel outside Cuba. His books were removed from libraries and bookstores. The film establishes the greatness of Lezama Lima’s literature and recounts the tragic end of the great Cuban writer, alone and silenced at his home in Trocadero Street, as well as his posthumous redemption by the very government that crushed him.” Trailer here.    

For the complete BLIFF program, visit www.bliff.org. Each film will be available for 48 hours after its scheduled release. Features screening prices are $10; tickets are available at bliff2020.eventive.org/films.  After purchasing a ticket for a specific time in its available window, viewers have 24 hours to watch the selected film.

And finally, Photo essay: “Returning to a place I’d never been by Omar Vega, Cuban-American and Boston Globe Design Director, September 20, 2020; Sunday Globe, Ideas section, K8.

Wedding on Paseo del Prada in Havana (click to enlarge)
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