Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Documentary shows dissension in Cuba

Posted on Wednesday, 10.20.10
Documentary shows dissension in Cuba

A film about Cuba's disenchanted youths, filmed largely during singer
Juanes' controversial concert on the island last year, debuts on Lincoln
Road this Saturday.

When Colombian rocker Juanes staged a concert in Havana last year, two
undercover film crews weaved through the massive crowd asking the youths
what they thought of Cuba and its future.

Those interviews, and many more with Cubans younger than 35 in and out
of the island, form the backbone of a documentary, The Grandchildren of
the Revolution, making its Miami debut Saturday.

What filmmaker Carlos Montaner found is a generation of Cubans
disconnected from the 50-year-old revolutionary system that marked their
parents and grandparents -- the latter Cuba's ruling class.

``There is no emotional link with what happened in '59 and '60. There is
no moral or political identification with events that they did not
live,'' Montaner said. ``What there is is political apathy, a rejection
of indoctrination.''

The 60-minute documentary will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Colony Theater
on Lincoln Road. The screening, sponsored by Roots of Hope, a group of
young exiles, will be followed by a panel discussion. To purchase
tickets, call 305-735-1868.

Montaner, the son of Spain-based Cuban columnist Carlos Alberto
Montaner, said he set out to explore the concerns of young people in a
country run for half a century by a generation of men now in their 80s.

``Nothing works here,'' says one of the youths interviewed. Adds
another: ``It's not worth working or studying or doing anything else in
this country.''

Among those interviewed are average youths as well as activists like
bloggers Yoani Sánchez and Claudia Cadelo, and musicians Gorki Aguila,
Los Aldeanos and Silvito the Free.

``We have no freedom of expression here,'' declares Silvito, the son of
Silvio Rodríguez, the Castro revolution's most iconic balladeer.

Montaner said he got the idea for the documentary before the Juanes
concert last September, and sent in two film crews made up of foreigners
because the Cuban government would not let him in. He sent in a third
crew after the concert.

Many of the interviews were done at night because the Cubans felt less
afraid of government punishments when they were under the cover of
darkness and the cameras were not trained on their faces, he said.

But while the youths expressed strong frustrations with the system,
Montaner said, there's no sign that they are likely to rebel against
their elders or the revolution.

``The space available for expressing any type of frustration is very
limited,'' he told El Nuevo Herald. ``The government and Communist Party
do not permit the kind of criticism that would allow a dialogue between
the grandparents and those who should inherit the system.

``So they distance themselves, or they want to leave,'' Montaner said.
``They are not going to rebel against their elders. They know that when
this [ruling] generation begins to weaken physically and mentally, there
will be no turning back.''

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