Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nuestro Cine: Friends to the end

Yesterday was the deadline for countries to submit their entries for the best foreign film at the Academy Awards. Thus far the prize has been won by a pair of Argentine films, most recently "El Secreto de sus Ojos" ("The Secret In Their Eyes") in 2010. Could a Latin American movie take advantage of several surprise picks from Europe and win the top foreign film Oscar? This week we’ll take a look at some of the entries from the region that could win the coveted gold statuette next February.

“Habanastation” is a film from Cuba that examines the strong friendship between two boys, Mayito and Carlos, despite their differing social backgrounds and economic status. The movie’s title is inspired by how the protagonists bond while playing video games such as those on the PlayStation console. (The different ways they pronounce “PlayStation” is one of the ways where the film shows the socioeconomic distinctions between the boys).

Director Ian PadrĂ³n acknowledged that discussing social distinctions in Cuba is a very sensitive topic according to this article via the EFE news agency:
Padron doesn’t believe that the film has led to an “institutional” debate or raises new issues. “This is found in our daily lives, the whole world is in either one of those two poles.”

He underlines that social differences are common in all countries but “in Cuba, with all that has occurred over the past fifty years, it’s much more controversial because we’ve always struggled to prevent them.”
“Habanastation”, which is Padron’s first feature film, won the best-of-the-fest award at the Traverse City Film Festival this year. The film can be seen (illegally?) in its entirety via online video sites; but for the purposes of this post we’re only going to link to and embed the movie’s trailer:

Video Source – YouTube via user wii63r

Online Sources – Variety, ABC.es, IMDB, Los Angeles Times, The Latin Americanist

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