The first psychological horror film made in Cuba arrives in Miami

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The first psychological horror film made in Cuba arrives in Miami Cuban film director Rudy Riverón poses during an interview with Efe on Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Miami, Florida (USA). EFE

 Miami, .- The Cuban Rudy Riverón, an heir of Polanski, Bergman, Hitchcock and who grew up watching Soviet films of antiheroes, presents at the Miami Film Festival his characters alienated from “Are you, dad?”, The first psychological horror film made in Cuba.

Away from the lugubrious atmosphere of his debut film, Riverón (Holguín, 1972) walks smilingly through a “sixties” hotel in Miami Beach where he affirmed that there are differences between psychological horror films and thrillers, according to an interview with Efe.

“In the psychological horror, the protagonist recreates an element that can be the product of his mind, something that scares him from the outside and that disturbs him in his trajectory.” In the thriller, the protagonist attacks directly, takes revenge for something less subjective “, demarcates.

“Is it you, dad?”, Which took six years of work and although it was shot entirely on the Caribbean island occurred in the United Kingdom, narrates the life of an estranged family, victim of the “suffocating existence of a dominant father “That disappears and it is the 13-year-old daughter who conducts the search.

The investigation -and this is a topic on the island- takes the paths of spiritualism and Santeria to play with the “laws” of metaphysics under an oppressive environment, highlighted by the work of veteran cinematographer Raúl Pérez Ureta.

Riverón feels proud of skipping stereotypes not only of Cuban cinema, but also those that surround the culture of his country.
“I wanted the audience to focus on the psychological problems of the characters, the ‘tempo’ given here helped me a lot to create that atmosphere of claustrophobia and at the same time of concentration,” says the Holguin-based one in the United Kingdom, where he took a course of script and created its own production company.

“Living in England for 17 years, studying and investigating about the (cinema of) horror and doing a script workshop in Canada for 5 months, all that helped me a lot,” the Cuban adds.

His influences, he says, “come with (Roman) Polanski, Ingmar Bergman, Lars von Trier, Alfred Hitchcock”, although it was also marked by Soviet films and cartoons where “all the leading roles were antiheroes”.

“I had the idea of ​​the girl confronting the family, and I decided to place her in Cuba, because I also discovered that she had never made a movie like that there,” Riverón revealed.

“But at the same time I did not want to (capture) the Cuban sense of humor, that where we laughed at ourselves, I wanted there to be total seriousness among the characters, because their problem is so difficult that a distraction or something funny would interfere”, nuanced.
At his side, the protagonist of the film, Gabriela Ramos, sighs when asked about the experience.

“I made the film with 16 years and now I’m 19”, says this acting student who had to obtain “special” permits to shoot the film.

“Lili is a character very far from me, because I laughed all the time about anything, and she was thinking about how to unite the family, although I had to be focused on the shootings, there were times when I relaxed to go out of that tension that caused me the character of the father “(Eduardo, played by Osvaldo Doimadiós), explains Ramos.

For her work in this film, she won the international Seymour Cassel award last year at the Oldenburg Festival in Germany, where “Is it you, dad?” and where the young woman arrived to collect the prize list “five minutes before the screening”.

Ramos previously worked on “Últimas días en La Habana”, by Fernando Pérez, for which she won the award for best supporting actress at the Malaga Film Festival (Spain), and another as best actress at the Latin American film festival from Biarritz (France).

The film of Riverón is exhibited on Monday at the 36th edition of the Miami Film Festival, after presenting this week in San Francisco (California), and is also scheduled to participate in the Chicago Latino Film Festival (Illinois), which It will take place this month.

The director regretted that he has not yet been seen in Cuba and believes that it will be difficult to take her there, because “the film has legal requirements in England”.

Riverón, who filmed with a “totally” British budget and had to undergo a review of the script in Cuba, counted for this project, in addition to Pérez Ureta, who accumulates more than half a century of trade and credit in numerous feature films, with another figure legendary of Cuban cinema, as is the actress Eslinda Núñez who plays Caridad.

The other actors that complete the cast are the young actress Lynn Cruz (Alina) and Jorge Enrique Caballero, as Carlos.
“Are you, papa?” Was shot in the outskirts of Havana at the end of 2016, on land rented by the state company RTV Comercial. (EFEUSA)

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