I’ve attended the Havana Film Festival New York for a couple years and have heard lots of reactions. I once heard an old guy mutter “Havana! Why would you support communism?” and storm out of the theater. I guess this is the consequence of a trade embargo that not only stops the flow of money between the U.S. and Cuba but can also inhibit cultural exchange. The 13th annual festival screened 40 films from Cuba and across Latin America.
If you are like me (and every other Latino) you are sick of seeing movies where the people that look like us are only maids, janitors, undocumented immigrants or drug dealers. The Latino experience is so much more complex; it spans continents, languages, and cultures. This year’s Tribeca Film Festival is filled with films that offer diverse portraits of Latinos.
Whenever Cuba makes the news it’s almost always about Fidel Castro, the crumbling economy, or the latest musician or sports player who defected. For those of us who live on this side of the trade embargo, it’s rare to hear stories from Cuba that fall outside of the communism vs. capitalism trope. The Havana Film Festival New York offers a chance to see those not-often-heard stories on a big screen.