U.S., 2018, 64 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Gustavo Perez Fernandez & Oneyda González, Not Rated, Spanish with English subtitles

Severo secreto

Saturday, 10/6 to Monday, 10/8

“Cuban author Anton Arrufat dreamt of a reunion of the late Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Reinaldo Arenas and Severo Sarduy in Havana’s Central Park, lamenting that it will never happen. But documentaries such as this proclaim that they shall return. In fact, they’re doing so already.” – Dean Luis Reyes, oncubamagazine.com

Severo Sarduy was a hybrid of the various ethnic origins - Spanish, African and Chinese - that comprise Cuban culture. As impossible to pigeonhole as his roots would indicate, Sarduy left Cuba to study in Paris in 1960 and never returned. One of the leading lights of the Neo-Baroque movement in literature, his novel, Cobra, won the Medici Prize. The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid hosted a major retrospective of his paintings after his death from AIDS. The husband-and-wife tandem of Oneyda González and Gustavo Pérez (They Would All Be Queens) hail from the Cuban province of Camagüey, where Sarduy was born. Traveling from Havana to Miami and Paris, they set out to unravel the mystery that was one of the island’s most transgressive artists, gaining unprecedented access to the Sarduy archives from his longtime companion François Wahl. They succeed in their mission without violating the artist’s abiding enigma, that is, without betraying the essence of their subject. A remarkable achievement.

Directors Oneyda González and Gustavo Pérez will be present to introduce their film and talk to the audience following the screenings.

For reasons as varied as the differences between them, three major Cuban literary figures left the island where they were born and - without losing their identities - made an indelible imprint on the world at large. What the three documentary portraits that comprise this series have in common is the devotion of the filmmakers to rescue from oblivion and celebrate the spirit of these artists, to ensure that their memory will outlive us all.

Check out the rest of our The Roads of Exile program!