Cuba, 71 min, Spanish with English subtitles
Whatever happened to beef in Cuba? For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the secret services of the US, Russia, China and Cuba decide, by mutual accord, to declassify documents that reveal the hidden details of an intelligence operation that took place over a quarter of a century ago and featured a humble Cuban inventor at its core. Ricardo Figueredo Oliva’s mockumentary Operación Alfa (O lo que le pasó a Benito Manso (Operation Alfa [Or What Happened to Benito Manso]) is a one-of-a-kind delight and prefigures the recent sonic attacks at the US Embassy in Havana. Sexo, historias y cintas de vídeo (Sex, Stories and Videotape) tackles an officially taboo subject head-on, tracing the history of prostitution in Cuba, from the time it was a Spanish colony to the present. The film is as bold and defiant as its subject demands; timely in its gender equality, inclusive in its sexual orientation. Jose Martí said it best: There’s no other way to cure ills than to extinguish their causes.
They come in all shapes and sizes. They are fearless and fly under the radar. They address a reality that’s either glossed over or spoken of in hushed tones. Armed with little more than their immense talent - and an overriding sense of humor - Cuban independent filmmakers have been carving out a significant niche for themselves. CGAC is delighted to pay tribute to these largely unsung movie heroes with a 9-program, 25-film salute.
Forbidden Fruit: Cuban Independent Film in the 21st Century was programmed in collaboration with Alejandro Ríos, and with the enthusiastic participation of all filmmakers involved - in and out of Cuba. Poster artist: Andrés Ungaro, courtesy of Blanco-Lorenz. Technical support: Magna-Tech Electronic. Special thanks to Rosa Marquetti, SGAE Havana and Dean Luis Reyes, whose series, Cuban Cinema under Censorship, at MoMA in New York City, was the inspiration for this program.
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