Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
With only a few days to go before 2020 becomes a historical reference, what many had been predicting is being confirmed: theaters in the United States had the worst box office results since 1980, the year in which the calculation of the collections began.
But if you look back at inflation and other indexes moviesof the economy, you can be sure that 2020 has been the most chaotic year, not only for U.S. movie houses, but in the history of the Hollywood film industry, the most powerful in the world.
Losses from the pandemic have been in the millions, and according to the Hollywood Reporter, box office receipts in 2020 represent an 80% drop in revenue from 2019.
If the damage was not greater, it is because US cinemas were able to function fully until mid-March, but since then they have been intermittent, with few spectators and essential isolation, while in territories like California and New York the policy of closed doors was maintained.
Also, the box office in Asian countries that exhibited films produced in Hollywood contributed to the fact that the collapse was not total, as well as the films released in streaming, an option before which some production houses have remained hesitant, waiting for the vaccines against covid-19 to end up recovering the luminous paths of the great cinematographic business.
But time is running out, capitals are contracting, and there is no lack of studios like Warner Bros. who have already announced that they will not wait for the movie theaters and will play films in 2021 by releasing them in streaming, ignoring the movie theater owners who, standing at the entrance of their theaters, continue to shout and talk about betrayal.
Among the criminal and detective series to which Multivision has accustomed us at night, a rare advert snuck in: Houdini & Doyle
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Among the crime and detective series to which Multivision has accustomed us at night, a rare advert has crept in: Houdini & Doyle. What did the famous escapist, precursor of David Copperfield’s truculence, have to do with the creator of Sherlock Holmes? How much truth and how much imagination is there in the approach to the cases developed throughout the ten chapters conceived by David Shore, Dr. House’s own, in the service of the 2016 British-Canadian co-production?
The truth was that, in real life, Harry Houdini (Budapest, 1874-Detroit, 1926) and Arthur Conan Doyle (Edinburgh, 1859-Crowborough, 1930), met, dealt with and made enemies. The bond and the antagonism had a certain basis. The writer who applied with tenacity and contumacity the deductive method became fanatical about occultism. meanwhile, the magician who made an epoch in Europe and the United States by untying chains, overcoming immersions and weaving optical illusions, disbelieved in spiritualism and appealed to reason to explain complex phenomena. So much so that he publicly denounced the medium who sold him an alleged message sent by his mother from the beyond: the text, headed by a Christian cross, was written in impeccable English. The magician’s mother was ignorant of that language, spoke in Yiddish, and professed Judaism.
Again and again, in each chapter of the series, the two confront each other in the effort to decipher mysteries and misunderstandings come to light. There is no progression in their views, for when Doyle (Stephen Mangan) seems to fail, and Houdini (Michael Weston) is stubborn, the case is solved by plausible, though sophisticated, explanations that leave a margin of doubt for Houdini to admit the possibility of supernatural intervention, and Doyle, more defeated than convinced, becomes more like Holmes than himself.
Shore and the Canadian scriptwriter David Titcher, known among us for the series The Librarians, got their hands on a third character, Detective Stratton (Rebecca Liddiard), the first woman with that degree in the English police force, a fact that was never sufficiently taken advantage of -it would have been an interesting feminist note- and ended up paling in the face of the antagonists’ clashes.
Neither by polishing the epochal reconstruction to the last detail, nor by mixing ingredients from the gothic novel and the psychological thriller, nor by putting into the plot, to the cannon, real characters, such as the inventor Thomas Alva Edison and Bram Stoker, the creator of Dracula, managed to hold the artistic breath of the series, which was canceled at the end of the first and only season. Critics recalled the counterpoint between Houdini and Doyle as a washed-up version of the debates between Mulder and Scully in the X-Files.
The event was chaired by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba (Minrex), and Alpidio Alonso Grau, Minister of Culture (Mincult), who personally presented the award.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
If bravery is a quality to face each step in life with courage, it is abundant in the political and artistic career of Estela and Ernesto Bravo. She, a North American, he, an Argentine, supportive, internationalists and Cubans by conviction since they decided to share dreams and destiny in the homeland of Marti and Fidel.
The Distinction for National Culture awarded to both of them last Saturday honors their passionate contributions to art and their permanent commitment to the ethical values and ideals of justice advocated by revolutionary Cuba.
Culture Minister Alpidio Alonso presented the award to the Bravo couple in a ceremony attended by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, a member of the Party’s Political Bureau and Minister of Foreign Affairs, during which the poet Nancy Morejón gave the words of praise.
Estela’s contribution to the documentary screen as a director, always assisted by Ernesto as a scriptwriter, consultant and coordinator in the tasks of production, stands out among the most lucid and penetrating in the cinema of the last four decades, starting with the 1980 release of Los que se fueron [Those Who Left].
With a catalog of more than 30 works of diverse footage, a substantial part of the Bravos’ filmography bears witness to events related to Cuban migration to the United States and the traumatic human and family cost of the hostility of that country’s rulers towards Cuba.
It is worth looking at the Latin American and Caribbean context of the time of the dictatorships and the US interventions in the region.
But, without a doubt, the most endearing productions of Estela and Ernesto are those that have had the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution in the forefront. Fidel, the untold story is revealed as one of the most complete portraits of the Commander in Chief’s personality.
Author: Rolando Pérez Betancourt | firstname.lastname@example.org
April 22, 2018 20:04:56
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Next May 5, 200 years after the birth of Karl Marx, this proven director, who is undoubtedly the Haitian Raoul Peck, made the German film The Young Karl Marx in 2017, a film to which even those who do not sympathize with Marxism have had to grant him artistic merit and the rigor of the concepts on which it is based.
The film tells of two young people who did not know firsthand the ruthless exploitation of capitalism in their day – and of course the other is Frederick Engels – and yet set in motion a movement that overflowed the antagonistic politics of their time and has inspired the emancipatory yearnings of millions of people around the world over the course of a century and a half.
Biographical notes on some lives and events that began in 1843 and ended in 1848 with the edition of the Communist Manifesto, years in which Marx and Engels met and solidified an eternal friendship. The director Raoul Peck, adapting himself to the didactic demands of the biopic, shows that even in a genre, the biography, coming from a consolidated literary tradition at the service of bourgeois glorification, back in the 19th century, can innovate and make more attractive a narrative whose vital substance is the weight of ideas. A well-told film with a convincing August Diehl as the young Marx, it is a story not to be missed by those who want to know how a key text of contemporary political thought was forged, which is like saying how the Communist Manifesto was forged.
Haitian Raoul Peck was forced to emigrate with his family to the Congo after the Duvalier dictatorship threatened them with death. He was closely linked to African reality and studied filmmaking in Berlin. His films, such as Lumumba and I’m Not Your Negro, the latter a documentary about racism in the United States that was nominated for last year’s Oscar, highlights the political and social concerns of this filmmaker. Director Peck – and the film makes this very clear – is not interested in wax figures. Hence we will see a passionate young Marx, a troublemaker, a drunkard at times, a Marx with defects, as his wife reproaches him, at times self-sufficient, a person of flesh and blood. Peck’s Marx is also overflowing with a youthful energy channeled under the imperative that happiness, the meaning of life, becomes concrete for him in an act of resistance and constant struggle against social injustice.
A film for any kind of audience, but one that scholars of history and Marxism will enjoy very much as they witness the dialectical battles established between the two young revolutionaries and other figures who understood only part of what the struggle for a new world should be. Thus we will see a gallery of these characters in this story that, faithful to reality, dedicates a special treatment to the women who influenced the life of Marx and Engels, and not only in the love aspect, but also contributing ideas.
Excellent moments are recreated, such as when the young people are introduced and the director conceives the scene as a train wreck, with an ironic Marx reproaching his great friend for the golden buttons he wore on his jacket the day they first met. From the beginning, both face their egos, then show mutual admiration, and finally end up in a night party. From then on they will fight together against censorship and police raids, riots and riots that will augur the strengthening of the workers’ movement, which until then had been disorganized in no small measure.
Although the film takes fictional licenses as is usual in any biography, historically it is impeccable. At the same tim, nourishing new points of view concerning this present of ours, contaminated by many of the contradictions then predominant and perfectly explained in Das Kapital, the film is a masterpiece for then and now. It’s not for pleasure that director Raoul Peck concludes his film with a dynamic editing that alludes to the perennial validity of Marxism. First, we’ll see the historic photo of Mary and Frederick, Jenny and Karl Marx and No Direction Home, played by Bob Dylan, a collage of photos and images that remind us of what the world has been like over the last 60 or 70 years. It’s a way of telling us that the two young friends are still as relevant as when they wrote 170 years ago that a specter was haunting the world.