Marti and the XVII Young Audiovisual Sample: Demystify without Offence

Enrique Ojito

Painting by Ernesto García Peña dedicated to the José Martí.

The vilification of Cuban National Hero José Martí in a film in process led the presidency of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) not to permit its exhibition in the program of the XVII Young Audiovisual Sample (XVII Muestra Joven) that will end next Sunday

People who insult almost never possess the quality of decency. But if the vilified person is Cuba’s National Hero José Martí, the topic is totally out of the question. Therefore, it is understandable that the presidency of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) has not authorized the inclusion in the program of the XVII Young Audiovisual Sample (XVII Muestra Joven) that will end next Sunday, of the film Quiero hacer una película (QHUP) (I Want to Make a Film), by Yimit Ramírez, and financed by the European platform Verkami, one of the most recognized in the field of micro-patronage.

In an act of institutional responsibility and because speculation would materialize, the institution’s management board issued a statement saying that, once the selection of the audiovisuals had been concluded, the coordinators of the event asked Icaic for the exhibition of the film, out of competition, as movie in process.

ICAIC representatives did not reject the cinematographic proposal right away, instead they offered the possibility of seeing the movie first and discuss points of view with the production team. “Without waiting for this joint debate, the film was removed from the event by its creators”, reads the text.

Ipso facto the other predictable movie appeared: the demonization of ICAIC by certain media and the reality show — mud of blasphemy and verbal pyrotechnics— on social networks with the leading role of Marta María Ramírez, administrator of QHUP profile on Facebook.

Demystifying Marti should not lead to offence. Not only Cuban plastic arts have taken on this ideo-aesthetic challenge; the cinema has done it as well. The absent-mindeds could revisit —if they ever did— José Massip’s Páginas del diario de José Martí (1971), and Martí, el ojo del canario (2010), by Fernando Pérez.

Those who foist the villain role on ICAIC in this story are forgetting that this institution has been since 2001 the main sponsor of the Muestra Joven, which has been distinguished by the problem-posing look of much of the audiovisual creations, anchored in areas barely addressed in our diverse reality.

Appealing to the “inclusive spirit” of the event should not be set up as a licence to insult Marti, who —I remember— said: “The most punishable of crimes is the one that hurts, or tries to obscure, a fame or a useful purity to Homeland”.

 

 

 

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