Friday 29 June 2007

Habana Comes to Perth

On the Sunday June 17 over 100 people laughed and cried their way through the latest Australia-Cuba Friendship Society function. There was an overwhelming response to the showing of the Cuban film Habana Blues at the fundraiser held on Sunday at the Fremantle Film and Television Institute, FTI.

In the week prior to the function the phone rang hot as people reserved a seat. By the time the doors opened at 3.30pm the function was sold out.

Habana Blues is a film that explores youth music culture in Cuba, a marriage in crisis and the decisions made by those who leave Cuba and those who stay. It also shows that Cubans risk their lives at sea to reach the United States as the US makes it difficult or delays the issue of visas for people to travel safely.

The featured band, after being discovered by a Spanish agency scouting for new talent is offered an exploitative contract which effectively enslaves them to the company for three years during which time they must compromise both their talent and values. It is obvious in the film that the US interests controlling the music industry would do whatever it took to force Cuban musicians to betray their homeland by making false statements against Cuba in return for fame.
True to the style of Cuban filmmaking, the strongest message was perhaps the most subtle. Ultimately the viewer was invited to think through the politics and make their own decision. The film should be out there in the main stream as its quality and story is second to none.

The money raised in the event will go to finance the construction of a shade house for the production of vegetables at the International Camp Julio Antonio Mella, host of the Southern Cross brigade which travels to Cuba every December.



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