Screening
Salut les Cubains + Fin de Siglo
Sat 16 Oct 2021, 19:00
CINEMATEK, Brussels
PART OF
  • In the presence of Marilyn Watelet
FILM
Salut les Cubains
,
,
30’

A photo montage of Cubans filmed by Agnes Varda during her visit to Cuba in 1963. The film explores Cuban society and culture post-revolution.

 

Jean-André Fieschi & Claude Olivier: Salut les Cubains is neither a commissioned work nor a work of transition. It’s just a film you enjoyed doing?

Agnès Varda: That’s right. It’s an homage to Cuba. I was invited there by the I.C.A., the Cuban Film Institute. I brought a Leica, some film, and a tripod since I had this project in the back of my mind. I really found the Cubans extraordinary and the form of their socialism surprising and joyful. They are the only Latin socialists. When I’m in Moscow I feel like I belong to another race from the Soviets. I have to work to understand them. In Cuba things were easier. I felt like I was Cuban and could understand. And then I laughed a lot. The folklore of their revolution, the rhythm of life, the heat... I brought back over four thousand photos and spent six months editing about fifteen hundred of them but it was worth it: in Cuba they say that it has the “sapor” (flavor) of a Cuban film. And for them, to get the flavor of something is to be Cuban. They do programs with my films and call them “Salut Agnès” (“Hello, Agnès!”).1

  • 1. Jean-André Fieschi & Claude Olivier “A Secular Grace: Agnès Varda”, Cahiers du cinéma, 165 (April 1965). Reprinted in T. Jefferson Kline, Agnès Varda: Interviews Conversations with Filmmakers Series, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014), 31. Translated by T. Jefferson Kline.
FILM
Fin de Siglo
End of Siglo
,
,
54’

The end of Siglo, the department store of Havana, is no exception to the many problems of Cuba after the collapse of the USSR and the US sanctions and blockade.

 

« Tourné en plein « período especial », le film capte au travers de la vie d’un grand magasin de la Havane, ce moment terrible de l’histoire cubaine qui voyait au même moment l’U.R.S.S. s’effondrer et les États-Unis bomber le torse à coup de sanctions et de blocus. Dans cette catastrophique bataille de récits idéologiques de la fin de 20e siècle, les cubains ont continué, par conviction, par obligation ou par habitude, à y croire, ou en tout cas à participer à la fiction d’y croire… Dans Fin de siècle, Marilyn Watelet et Simon Zaleski se focalisent sur la complexité de ce qui se mettait en scène dans ce grand magasin, quelque part entre la survivance du récit fondateur révolutionnaire cubain et le désir individuel lié à la distinction et le culte du mérite. Cette première des cinq collaborations entre les deux cinéastes est un film sur la puissance du récit, au plus près de la survivance de l’humain… »

Javier Packer Comyn1