October 2017: Leonardo Padura Festival

Leonardo_PaduraWikiPhotoWhat began with some planning for a small Cuban film festival by members of the Boston-Cuba Solidarity Coalition has turned into an area festival for celebrated Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura, who is coming to Boston with his wife screenwriter Lucia López Coll.

Public events will be moderated discussions, some with panels, with audience participation, including film showings with Q&A, and will take place at the following times and venues:

  • Tu, Oct 10: 6:30-8:30, Reading/book signing at Brookline Coolidge Corner Library, 31 Pleasant St., at the Coolidge Corner Green Line (C train) stop; the Brookline Booksmith will be bringing books.
  • Wed, Oct 11: 7:00-9:00, U.S. premiere with English subtitles, “Regreso a Itaca/Return to Ithaca,” Q&A, Boston University School of Theology, 745 Commonwealth, at the BU Central stop on the Green Line B train.
  • Ths, Oct 12: noon-2:00 Northeastern University, 909 Renaissance Park, 1135 Tremont, at/just south of the Ruggles St. station on the Orange Line and the parking garage on Columbus Ave., #63 on the campus map.
  • Fri, Oct 13: 2:00-4:00, “A conversation about Culture and Politics with Leonardo Padura (in Spanish)” Tufts University, Cabot Center, 7th floor, 170 Packard Ave. with parking and public access on campus map.
  • Fri, Oct 13: 7:00-9:30, “Vientos de La Habana/Winds of Havana,” Q&A, Northeastern University, 010 Behrakis Health Sciences Center (BK), 30 Leon St., near the MFA Green Line stop (E train) on Huntington Ave., #26 on the campus map.
  • Tu Oct 17: 2:00-4:30, “A Conversation with Celebrated Author Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Boston University, Mugar Memorial Library, Richards-Roosevelt Room, 1st Floor, 771 Commonwealth Ave, at the BU Central stop on the Green Line B train.
  • Tu Oct 17: 7:00-8:30 – July26.org/Leonardo Padura joint program with the Witness for Peace-sponsored tour with Cuban poet and popular educator Marcel Lueiro Reyes, Northeastern University, 305 Shillman Hall, 115 Forsythe St., half a block from the Northeastern U Green Line stop (E train) on Huntington Ave., turn left, #30 on the campus map.

Padura’s wide popularity is rooted in the series of noir detective novels he’s written, the first four of which have been made into films. The “Four Seasons in Havana” quartet is available on Netflix; it is being made into an English language series for cable starring Antonio Banderas.

The festival will be screening two Padura films in Spanish with English subtitles after which there will be Q&A with the author: “Vientos de La Habana/Winds of Havana,” an expanded version of the first in the Netflix series that is an introduction to the world of Mario Conde featuring the whole crew from the old neighborhood and his high school days as well as police colleagues and Havana itself. In “Regreso a Itaca/Return to Ithaca,” Leonardo wrote the screenplay about a generation gathering for a rooftop dinner in Havana and to make sense of the past and present.  The festival showing will be the first time the film has been screened with English subtitles in this country.

Padura’s writing in general is deeply involved with Cuban history and politics. Adios Hemingway is a case in point.  The Man Who Loved Dogs is an extended treatment of three intersecting stories: the last decades in the life of Leon Trotsky, the life of his assassin Ramon Mercader, and the tale of the Cuban novelist who discovers Mercader living out his last years in Havana after prison. Padura’s most recent book, Heretics, is a sweeping 500+ page historical novel, of art theft, anti-Semitism and Jewish identity, and contemporary Cuba that begins in 1939 with the Saint Louis sailing from Hamburg into Havana with hundreds of Jewish refugees seeking asylum.

Among the biographies of Leonardo Padura, the Wikipedia entry has numerous informative references and links including Jon Lee Anderson’s notable overview in his October 21, 2013 Letter from Havana in the New Yorker“Private Eyes.” Note, too, Alan West-Duran’s insightful review in “Havana’s Criminal Excess on Pay-Per-View” in CubaCounterpoints.com, the Open Access publication linked to EthnoCuba, a network of Cubanist academics from over fifteen countries.

The current trip is occasioned by Padura’s receipt of the Avellaneda Prize from the Cuban Cultural Center of New York —  La Avellaneda Medal is the Center’s most prestigious literary award — and “presentations of books and films in NY and Boston.”

Festival cosponsors include: The Brookline Public Library, the Brookline Booksmith, and Brookline PAX; the Department of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies and the Latino/a, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies Program, Northeastern University; the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Department of Romance Studies, and Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University; Department of Romance Languages, Latin American Studies, Tufts University; Witness for Peace; the Boston Latino International Film Festival, bliff.org, running from September 28-October 1; the Roxbury International Film Festival; the Boston International Film Festival / BostonInterFF.

Addendum: Quote from the novelist on the occasion of his visit to Boston; event posters / flyers / announcements; short announcement about the festival.

For more information, contact info@july26.org.