The movie is very well done and the actors’ work is wonderful . It was an almost unreal experience for me to watch the movie with them .I found it amazing to see them in person while we asked questions about the work. In addition, while discussing censorship, they told us about their own experience with the censorship of Santa and Andrés. I felt as though what we saw had left the screen and became a reality. History was repeating itself!
Something Carlos Lechuga said that stuck with me was the fact that despite being censured, in reality, everyone has seen the film because it’s part of the paquete. The contradiction I see here is that if it is true that those that work on spreading/selling the paquete cannot include political works, then how can they include works like Santa y Andres which have gone through a process of censorship? —Amy
First of all, the acting was so fantastic that I didn’t know that Eduardo Martinez who was sitting with us throughout the movie played Andrés until he started talking! Carlos Lechuga mentioned that many examples of censorship that we’d seen in class still exist in Cuba, even at the New York Film Festival. However, he focused on his hope in the power of the media. The more means of communication that are opened up, such as Facebook which allows a global audience to share their opinions, the more freedom of expression will be possible.
For me, the private screening of the movie Santa and Andrés was a very interesting and unique experience. Having the opportunity to ask questions with the director and the main actors was a privilege, and hearing their perspectives gave us another view of censorship that would be impossible to know in other ways..
The film was impressive for the quality of the acting, the story it told, and its cinematography as well. But the conversation we had later was both fascinating and scary. They said after the film was censored in Cuba but became popular elsewhere, all three had been followed by state agents who tried to ruin their reputations. It seems a scene towards the end, depicting a meeting de repudiación had caused them many problems (a student analyzing the film even suggested that they were trying to create an ideological struggle between Fidel and José Martí), in addition to the ending, where Andrés decides to leave Cuba. They also thought that, on top of everything else, people were bothered by the positive portrayal of the gay main character. The conversation we had related in many ways to the course themes, and during the movie I kept thinking that I understood why the government had censored it. Somehow, I think I have begun to think that censorship is a fact of life, that of course a government will not allow a work that does not reflect it well.
Something I found particularly interesting was the opinion and relationship of the director with counterrevolutionary ideas. He mentioned several times that his family was not counterrevolutionary and it was quite surprising for him to censor this film for being counterrevolutionary. It made me wonder how important the author’s intention is for ICAIC in censoring the media.
It was great to hear from their experiences with censorship in 2016 — the constant harassment of the police, the censorship process, why they censored the film, the influence of social networks (which greatly decreased censorship as Wendy commented) and the influence of Cuba in other film festivals. Apart from that I loved the movie, Lola is a phenomenal actress and Eduardo is very charismatic. The director, Carlos Lechuga, is very funny in how he tells facts and with the three you can see a great passion for art.
In the evening we went to a private residence for the screening of Santa and Andrés. The subject that was touched upon was censorship. When we saw PM, we couldn’t understand why a small movie was censored. Maybe it was because they didn’t want people to continue living that way, but the reason for the censorship was not clear. Since other aspects of Cuba have changed, we would have thought the same would apply to movies, but it seems to be different. When talking about their experiences, Lechuga allowed us to see that there is still a problem with censorship and that the government went to great lengths so that a movie that simply explained the truth was not seen. As a matter of fact, there was a parallel between the director and the main character, in the sense that both feel that the government was against them.
The reasons for the movie’s censorship were obvious: it exposed the harsh treatment of individuals who resisted the revolutionary movement in Cuba during the mid-twentieth century. I wonder if the state also took issue with the homosexual sex scene in the film between Andrés and the violent mute. When the director went to international film festivals to show the movie, the Cuban state tried to intervene in strangely aggressive ways. For example, they intercepted his invitations and sent prostitutes to his hotel in an attempt to harm his marriage and reputation. It’s a comically petty approach.
Santa (Lola Amores) was highly sexualized by Cuban officials and society because she was beautiful and pro-revolutionary during the movie. The movie was immediately censored after it was released but they managed to transfer copies to the U.S. and around the globe. When the movie was censored, apparently there was a huge commotion on Facebook as friends and family were demanding that it be uncensored by the government. To this day, it is still censored.