Known for his versatility, he pointed out that each character embodies a conflict, an attitude that the actor must unravel and that is the case in ‘Esther en Alguna Parte’
”There are no longer stories for old people”, Reynaldo Miravalles confessed to me without bitterness on the rainy afternoon when he welcomed Prensa Latina in his home in Havana”s El Vedado, the same house where he passed away on Monday at the age of 93.
At the time, he had made headlines due to his return to Cuba to perform in a film precisely focusing on senior citizens, the last motion picture he starred in along his vast career that also included ‘Las 12 Sillas’, ‘El Hombre de Maisinicú’ and ‘Los Pajaros Tirandole a la Escopeta’.
‘Esther en Alguna Parte’ was his reencounter with Cuban cinema. He played the 90-year-old character that Gerardo Chijona conceived always thinking about him, about his charisma and that expressiveness of gestures that is both increasingly rare and valuable.
‘No one goes to the movies to watch senior citizens, not even the Americans. That film was made for us, and I thank Chijona for having taken me into account,’ the actor told me without knowing how the film would be welcomed.
Success was total, beyond the quality of the story and the making, because it touched sentimental fibers of a nation that grew up worshipping the actor who played two memorable characters like Melesio Capote and the rancher Domingo Carmona.
The night of the premiere he received a standing ovation at Havana’s Chaplin Theater as the great champion he was, and the next year, at the Festival of New Latin American Cinema, he received the Honorary Coral Award for his contribution to Cuban culture.
He is gone, however, without receiving a prize that he deserved more than anyone, the National Cinema Award, although winning that prize never caused him sleepless nights, because he knew that he was loved and respected by both the audience and his colleagues.
That afternoon he spoke about the peasant Melesio and how he was conceiving the character as the film was shot in the Escambray Mountain Range, about his passion for the Almendares baseball team that later became Industriales, and about the pleasure of feeling a normal human being, a humble Cuban.
Known for his versatility, he pointed out that each character embodies a conflict, an attitude that the actor must unravel and that is the case in ‘Esther en Alguna Parte’. The film was so well written that it was easy for him to learn the script, the conversation flows.
While living with his family in the United States for a decade, Miravalles’ travels to his homeland became more frequent, because he always made it clear that he could live anywhere in the world, but his Homeland was Cuba.
In fact, he was born here and he died here, although he will live forever in the so many characters that are part of popular imagination and the sentimental education of generations of Cubans who today are mourning an authentic titan of national culture.