Agosto: A Different Film
This is a film in every different sense that proposes a healing gaze towards that moment of farewells and separations.
December 11, 2019 12:12:07 | CLAUDIA PIS GUIROLA
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
It’s set in 1994 and Carlos is 14 years old. Some of his friends, neighbors and relatives leave Cuba behind the siren songs of the U.S. government. The US, which, while tightening the economic and financial blockade, promises benefits and guarantees to those who manage to set foot on American soil. In handmade boats, improvised from any material, they sail the seas: they are rafters. But Carlos (Damián González) is a teenager and in the midst of his personal pains, is unable to understand the full political-social dimension of the moment. Through his gaze, Agosto [August] is told. It is a film without excesses and with no desire to judge, which appeals to the collective memories of those who face the only Cuban film in competition in the section of Opera Prima during this 41st International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana.
With the support of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), this production between Cuba, Costa Rica and France had to go through a long road of almost ten years to see materialize the original project of Armando Capó (director) with script by Abel Arcos. Finally, it is now possible to enjoy a work that, beyond the dramatic force of the context in which it is set, delves into more universal values such as adolescence, the loss of loved ones and the sexual awakening of a boy who will have to assume the socially accepted demands for his gender, but made even more acute by economic precariousness.
Capó, coordinator of the Fiction Chair at the International Film and TV School of San Antonio de los Baños, tells of a long documentary production (Descubriendo Pancha, 2004; La marea, 2009; Ausencia, 2011), which may have influenced the way the story is told. There are no dramatic effects or heartbreaking catharsis. Even the treatment of color from a palette without stridencies, the tempo of the edition and the use of hand-held camera contribute to achieving a story from a calm, with an unconventional narrative structure, but very attractive from, among other things, the careful recreation of the era.
With the performances of Glenda Delgado Domínguez, Felito Lahera, Verónica Lynn and Lola Amores Rodríguez, this is a film in a very different sense that proposes a healing gaze towards that moment of farewells and separations. That August was the same for many and those who still need a reconciliation with that summer, perhaps this August, will find it.