Zavattini in Cuba, a long relationship

The first edition of Orizzonti Italia-Cuba, the film festival dedicated to the collaborations between the two countries. In the center is a retrospective on the artist, a close friend of the founding nucleus of the new Cuban cinema.

The first edition of Italy-Cuba horizonsa film festival and more, directed by Simone Faucci and Luis Ernesto Doñas, dedicated to cultural and artistic collaborations between Cuba and Italy.

This first edition was especially dedicated to 120 years since the birth of Cesare Zavattini. As Luciano Castillo, director of the Cinemateca Cubana – Icaic, wrote, Zavattini was “a close friend of the founding core of the new Cuban cinema and one of the first to acclaim and defend the victorious Revolution on our Island,” collaborating between other things in The Movie The rebellious young man by Julio García Espinosa, one of the milestones of the new Latin American cinema. The latter was largely inspired by Italian neorealism, and Zavattini’s role in favor of this exchange was decisive.


Zavattini is still very popular in Cuba. for being a versatile artist, who used many different languages, from writing to film, from poetry to comics, from theater to painting: a universal intellectual who has never separated his artistic activity from his commitment to transformation of reality.

Gabriel García Márquezfounder of the International Film and TV School of San Antonio de Los Baños (Eictv) together with Fidel Castro, Alfredo Guevara and Fernando Birri, define him as follows: “An imaginative Italian with an artichoke heart, who infused cinema. his time is a breath of unprecedented humanity. “

As part of the festival, the Cinemateca di Cuba promoted film criticism “Cesare Zavattini: patriarch of Italian neorealism”which took place at Cinema 23 and 12, one of the most important cinemas in Havana, the digitization of which was carried out thanks to the support of Italian solidarity.

Along with the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (Icaic), the General Directorate of Cinema and Audiovisuals of the Italian Ministry of Culture and the Association “Teatres de la Resistència”, promoters of the initiative, the festival also had the presence of the Audiovisual Archive. of the labor and democratic movement and the Zavattini Prize, which recently published the call for its seventh edition.

Apart from the festival, they were held from the most interesting visits to Cuban cultural and archival structures dedicated to the audiovisual, from the Icaic to the Eictv to the Nuevo Archivo Fílmico para el Icaic. The latter retains more than 3,500 titles of Cuban filmography and is committed – as pointed out by Dolores Calviño, deputy director of the Cuban Cinematheque – to an indefatigable task of saving and restoring this precious heritage.

The Archive has recently been relocated, better equipped for the conservation and restoration of materials. As José Antonio Canga, director of the Archive, said, the new scanner “allowed us to digitize materials that had a high degree of deterioration,” but “we do not yet have a device capable of reproducing all the information contained in a frame. The movie “.

In the midst of a thousand difficulties, Cuba is struggling to save and transmit its film and cultural heritage. The more than ten-year-old blockade criminal, against whom the UN has repeatedly spoken out, continues to cause enormous damage and problems to the Cuban people. In recent days, however, an important signal has arrived from Mexico, which has decided to break the embargo by sending food and medicine to Cuba.

As early as 1963 Zavattini was attractive against the blocking: “I would like Cuba not only to have consolidated the independence it has won with the strength and sacrifices of its people, but also to continue to endure unjust shortcomings, forms of ill-treatment, impediments, therefore, to this greater well-being because it has and that love and attention for this country do not fade in the world, which in years confused for our humanity has given us back the faculty of feeling what is right and what is wrong, of to constitute for our humanity. consciousnesses a certain measure that we needed “.

Milena Fiore – Audiovisual archive of the labor and democratic movement

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