Archive for the ‘DOCUMENTAIRES’ Category

Rumba calling - La rumba me llama

Rumba Calling / La Rumba Me Llama

Dir. Oliver Hill, Cuba / Jamaica, 2015, 48 min. colour. English subtitles.

Joyous, sexy Rumba, is the bedrock of all Cuban music. In this witty, lively short, leading lights of contemporary forms (Son, Timba, Jazz, Hip Hop), pay homage to Rumba for the role it has playing in shaping Cuban identity, and rooting it in an ancient ancestral heritage.



Dir. Fernando Gonzalez Mitjans, UK, 2016, 39 min. colour. English subtitles.

Short documentary with an acute reminder of the human cost of the globalised labour market. We follow exploited Latin American cleaners as they work, before dawn, to prepare London universities for the day ahead.



Dir. Haliam Perez Fernandez, Spain, 2015, 69 min. colour. English subtitles.

Caridad Marina Pérez was born in 1926, one month before Fidel Castro. She is at the beating heart of this deeply personal documentary, which looks at contemporary Cuba through the eyes of an expatriate returning after thirteen years. How much is left of the revolutionary utopia that was held out to her and her extended family, as the reward for so many decades of hardship, toil and deracination? Yet, Marina persists, tackling every new challenge with patience and optimism: the very soul of Cuba.


Umaturka, The Call Of The Water / El Llamado Del Agua

Dir. Giovanna Miralles, Bolivia, 2016, 48 min. colour. English subtitles.

In the Bolivian Andes an isolated, indigenous community trusts more in its traditional cloud-calling ceremony than in any help from the 21st century (perhaps rightly so). Against the stark, lyrical backdrop of the desert, this documentary records what could well be the last enactment of an age-old ritual. I hope it rains for them…



Dir. Catherine Murphy, USA, 2012, 33 min. colour & b/w, English subtitles.

In 1961, more than 250,000 Cubans joined the National Literacy Campaign and taught more than 700,000 of their compatriots to read and write. Almost half of these volunteer teachers were under 18. More than half were women. Narrated by Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, ‘Maestra’ explores the experiences of nine of the women who, as young girls, helped eradicate illiteracy from Cuba in a single year. Interweaving interviews, archive footage and campaign photos, this lively documentary, features one of the first Cubans of her generation to call herself a feminist and one of the first open and proud members of Cuba’s LGBT community. These pioneers recount their struggle for autonomy and independence in a culture still bound by patriarchal structures. Eight years in the making, ‘Maestra’ celebrates the will and courage that made this monumental endeavour possible, and the pivotal role played by women and the young in building a new society.



Dir. Carlos Barba Salva, Cuba / Mexico / Spain / USA, 2014, 111 min. colour, English subtitles.

A stunning retrospective of one of Cuba’s most outstanding visual artists, and the story of the abiding mystery surrounding his disappearance five years ago. Humberto Solas was a filmmaker, a visionary, and, first and foremost, a Cuban icon. Best known as the director of “Lucia”, (regarded a one of the ten best Latin American films of all time), he actually amassed an extensive body of work, and, through his pioneering experimentation in the use of colour, became a major influence on the cinema of the island. Five years after his actual disappearance, co-workers, family and friends, gather to remember aspects of his life and career and discuss the lasting legacy of his feature films

Gabo - The Magic of Reality

Gabo, the magic of reality / Gabo, la magia de lo real

Dir. Justin Webster, Spain / UK, 2015, 90 min, colour & B/W, English subtitles.

How did a boy from a backward town on the Caribbean coast become a writer who won the hearts of millions, from the poorest to the most powerful, with a life’s work that helped change our perception of reality? Drawing on a wealth of archive material, this documentary traces the inspirational story of Gabriel Garcia Marquez (‘ Gabo ‘ as he is affectionately known throughout Latin America), lauded as perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes, winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, and author of the critically acclaimed masterpiece “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. Growing up in the poverty and violence of northern Colombia, he was motivated by a love of life, as well as an earthy and mysterious sensibility. He pioneered a new, life-affirming genre of literature, and through his militant journalism, and friendships with leaders like Fidel Castro and Bill Clinton, was at the forefront of the political struggles of the Seventies and Eighties.


Me dicen Cuba

Dir. Pablo Massip, Cuba, 2014, 52 min. colour, English subtitles.

“Of all the arts, the only one that doesn’t exist is music. Music doesn’t exist. It only exists in the minds and imaginations of men and women. Music begins where words end”. Master musician and composer Sergio Vitier begins the narration of “Me Dicen Cuba” with these striking words, setting the tone for a documentary that explores the universal themes of music (peace, love, friendship, family, community, nation) from the unique perspective of musicians in Cuba today. With the participation of more than seventy of the country’s most prominent music-makers (amongst them, Sergio Vitier himself, Digna Guerra, Vicente Feliu, Alexander Varona, Lazaro García, Kiki Corona, Amaury Perez, Raul Paz, Luna Manzanares, Vania Borges, Baby Lores, Tanmy Lopez, Yadira Estruch, the Buena Fe Duet, Paulo FG, Hector Gutierrez, Silvio Rodriguez), the film presents a portrait of, perhaps, the central form in Cuba’s cultural expression, at a moment of historical change. The end result is scintillating, and thought provoking, in equal measure.

Never Ever Neverland

Never ever neverland

Dir. Marina Ochoa, Cuba, 2014, 90 min, colour & B/W, English subtitles.

Director Marina Ochoa dedicated this heart-rending documentary to her younger brother, Frank, who was one of the more than fourteen thousand Cuban children who were sent, alone, to the USA between 1960 and 1962. She never saw him again. “Operation Peter Pan” has been the subject of previous films, but here, apart from exploring the lasting effects on its victims, Ochoa throws new light on the secrets of the operation, for example, the role of Spain as a conduit for the expatriation, and the fact that some of the children ended up being settled in Jamaica, instead of the States. Crucially, she demonstrates that “Operation Peter Pan” was not merely a one-off event, of purely historical significance, as she reveals how near such a tragedy came to being repeated in Venezuela, as a reaction to the advent of the Chavez government. Essential  viewing, for everyone.

4 Ramas 4 Armas

4 elements 4 weapons / 4 ramas 4 armas

Dir. Katharin Ross, Chile, 2015, 72 min. colour, English subtitles.

This film give us a glimpse of a wide range of activities hip hop youth engage in as a means of empowerment, and reveals a critical voice of dissent and an inspiring display of positive action toward effecting change within these young people’s lives and communities.


Blood of my blood / Sangre de mi sangre

Dir. Jeremie Reichenbach, France, 2014, 78 min. colour. English subtitles.

BLOOD OF MY BLOOD describes the life of a family of workers in a self-managed slaughterhouse in Argentina. A mix of scenes of daily life and landmark events, a story of love, sharing and transmission….

Hombres de Cocodrilos - 02

Hombres de cocodrilos

Dir. Livan Magdaleno, Cuba, 2013. 46 min, colour, English subtitles.

At the very southern tip of Matanzas province in the central region of Cuba, and just thirty eight kilometers from the infamous Bay of Pigs, is to be found the village of Cocodrilos. Here, where, the adverse natural conditions cry against any form of human habitation, its people have long fought against the elements with patience and dignity, struggling to survive in a precarious economic situation.

Neruda in the round - Neruda_arrivalUK

Neruda in the round

Dir. Colin Hobson, UK, 2013, 59 min, colour & b/w, English subtitles.

At London’s famous Roundhouse, in April 1970, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda gave the only British recital of his ever to be filmed. Neruda In The Round incorporates a large part of this unique archive, with expert commentary to provide a moving insight into the genius of one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets.

His acclaimed biographer, Adam Feinstein, and Robert Pring-Mill, (Neruda’s close friend and a leading authority on his poetry), help to analyse and contextualise the work of this literary giant, who went on to become a Nobel Laureate.

Jogo de Corpo_Body Games - Kambangula-Baltazar&A[LowR]

Jogo de corpo/Body games. Capoeira and ancestry

Dirs. Richard Pakleppa, Matthias Rohrig Assuncao, Cinesio Pecanha (Mestre Cobra Mansa ), Brazil/South Africa, 2013, 87 min, colour, English subtitles.

Body Games is a documentary driven by Mestre Cobra Mansa’s desire   to understand fully the ancestral origins of his art form, Capoeira, and the place it occupies in his Afro­‐Brazilian heritage.  In Capoeira, the performers kick, spin and dodge to music that evokes Africa, the world of slaves and masters, and a mythical place called ‘Angola’.

We follow as Cobra Mansa pursues the mysteries of Capoeira in Rio, Bahia, and then on to Africa, where he uncovers astounding links with the spiritual and cultural traditions of the real Southern Angola: the Zebra Dance, ‘Engolo’, for example, and the hypnotic tones of the musical bow.

Through a dazzling exchange of Capoeira and native martial art forms, all enacted in the dusty villages of Angola, Cobra and his team begin to gain a real appreciation of the correspondences between these ancient combat games, sharing the same roots, though practiced an ocean apart.

They are we - 01b

They are we

Dir. Emma Christopher, Cuba/Sierra Leona/Australia, 2014, 78 min, colour, English subtitles.

Try not to miss this unique and inspiring documentary.

In Perico, Cuba, a local group has preserved the songs and dances that, long ago, were brought aboard a slave ship by their ancestor (known only as ‘Josefa’). In this way, they have kept alive the Afro-Cuban heritage of their community, throughout a long history of slavery, poverty, and repression. Years of painstaking research finally led filmmaker Emma Christopher to a remote village in Sierra Leone. There, people watching a recording of the Cubans’ ceremonies, joyously declared, “They are we!” and started to join in with the songs. Preparations then began, to welcome home their long lost cousins, with the biggest festival in the history of the village.

PowerPoint Presentation

Chilean time / Hora chilena

Dir. Kip Loades, UK/Chile, 2013, 80 min, colour, English subtitles.

Marking the fortieth anniversary of the murderous Chilean coup of 1973, which led to the death or disappearance of thousands, Kip Loades’ documentary focuses on the hundreds of thousands more who were forced to flee the country, fearing for their lives. Chilean Time is a deeply moving reflection upon that most profound of exiles, which, for many, proved permanent; and also, upon the acceptance and kindness the refugees encountered in a land so far from home. In its evocation of one community’s expression of solidarity for another, the film reflects the timeless and universal story of those who have no choice but to seek refuge amongst strangers, and of those who welcome them in.