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The Ten Most Acclaimed Faces of the Cuban Cinema

The Ten Most Acclaimed Faces of the Cuban Cinema

Posted by Miguel Ernesto on February 23, 2018

Cuba has a special relation with cinema: Havana was one of the first cities in Latin America where the cinema came into scene, it was in 1897, and that same year, French Gabriel Veyre starred the first documentary filmed in the Caribbean country, “Simulacro de incendio” (Fire Fake). In the first half of the XX Century, about eighty films were produced in Cuba, most of them of not much transcendence; maybe “Megano” was an exception, a short documentary which put together three important personalities of the national cinema: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, José Massip and Alfredo Guevara.

After 1959, with the creation of the Cuban Institute of Arts and Cinematographic Industry (Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos), the production of films increased and among the most famous ones of the last six decades, we could mention: “Memorias del Subdesarrollo” (Memories of Underdevelopment) (1968), “Clandestinos” (Clandestine) (1987), “La bella de la Alhambra” (The Beauty of Alambra) (1989), “Fresa y Chocolate” (Strawberry and Chocalate) (1993), which was nominated for an Oscar Prize as the best foreign film, “La vida es silbar”  (Life is Just a Whistle) (1998) and  “Suite Habana” (Suite Havana) (2003). In 1979, the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, (International Festival of the New Latin American Cinema) was created, and now it has 39 editions and every year the best productions made in the region meet in Havana.

Which are the most recognizable faces of the Cuban cinema? PanamericanWorld proposes to get closer to actors and actresses who have contributed to enrich the national cinematography, which has found in co-productions and in independent projects a way to continue growing up

Jorge Perugorría 

His performance as Diego, in the unforgettable “Fresa y Chocolate” (Strawberry and Chocalate), by directors Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and  Juan Carlos Tabío, opened his doors to international cinematography. From then on, Perugorría has worked in almost sixty films and he has filmed in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Argentina. Apart from performing, “Pichy”, as his friends call him, is also director and he has made four films: “Afinidades” (Likenesses), “Amor Crónico” (Cronical Love), "Se Vende” (For Sale) and “Fátima o el Parque de la Fraternidad” (Fatima or Fraternity Park).

Daysi Granados

Director José Massip discovered her in 1964, when she was an actress in a theater amateur group. From that moment on, till the present, Granados has been considered as “the face of the Cuban cinema”. In her very long career, of five decades she has participated in more than 30 films, among them, all the ones directed by her husband, Pastor Vega. Maybe the most remembered one is “Retrato de Teresa” (Teresa´s Portrait); she also shared protagonist roles with Sergio Corrieri in the iconic film “Memorias del Subdesarrollo” (Memories of Underdevelopment). In 2007, she received the Cinema National Prize.

Luis Alberto García

This actor has his debut in cinema in 1986. In his wide curriculum there are more than 60 roles (most of them are protagonist) and he has participated in important  Cuban movies like “Clandestinos” (Clandestine) (1987), “Plaff” (1989), “Adorables Mentiras” (Adorable Lies)(1990), “Guantanamera” (1995), “La Vida es Silbar” (Life is Just a Whistle) (1998), “Viva Cuba” (Long Life Cuba) (2005) and  “Madrigal” (2006). García has also had a wide trajectory in television and theater.

Isabel Santos

This versatile actress has been protagonist of several of the best films in the history of the Cuban cinema. She is very talented to unfold and assume difficult roles in intense dramas (“Clandestinos” (Clandestine), “La vida es silbar” (Life is Just a Whistle), “La pared de las palabras” (The Wall of Words)), likewise, we can be enchanted in comedies (“Se permuta” (Moving out)). She has developed an intense career in television, where she has worked in various of the most recognized soap operas (“Algo más que soñar” (Something More than a Dream, “Pasión y prejuicio” (Passion and Prejudice), among others) she is also an audiovisual director since she has already directed three documentaries:  “San Ernesto nace en la Higuera” (San Ernesto is born in La Higuera), “Viaje al país que ya no existe” (Trip to the Country that no longer exists) and “El camino de la vida” (Life´s Way).

Carlos Enrique Almirante

At the age of 34, this talented actor has shown a great versatility. In Cuba he began to be known for his performances in juvenile and fiction series in television and theater; moreover, in Colombia he has been protagonist in different soap operas and was a presenter in Miami for a contest program for television; although his best moments have come in cinema. Almirante has participated in war dramas (“Kangamba”), in biographies (“Bolívar, el hombre de las dificultades” (Bolivar, the Man of Difficulties)), en dramas (“Páginas del diario de Mauricio” (Mauricio´s Dairy Pages), “La partida” (The departure), “Ciudad en rojo” (City in Red), “Fátima o el parque de la Fraternidad” (Fatima or Fraternity Park), where he played the role of a travesty and got very positive comments for his performance), and in the Netflix series “Cuatro estaciones de La Habana” (Four Seasons in Havana), where he worked as the detective mate of Mario Conde, played by Jorge Perugorría.

Ana de Armas

This is the Cuban actress who has obtained most of the success in films made in Hollywood. She studied in Cuba and before moving into Spain, she performed a protagonist role in “Una rosa de Francia” (A Rose from France), where she worked with Jorge Perugorría. In Spain, she worked in television series which got high vision ratings like: “El Internado” (The Boarding School) and “Hispania, la leyenda” (Hispania, The Legend) and she also worked in films, although trivial ones. In 2015, her role in the film “Knock Knock”, together with Keanu Reeves, opened her way to new projects. A year later, she repeated with Reeves in “Exposed” and she shined in “Manos de Piedra” (Stone Hands), about the life of the Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán. For her performance she received many laudatory comments, as well as for her interpretation of Joy in “Blade runner 2049”, by Denis Villeneuve.

Enrique Molina

This veteran actor has been linked to cinema for more than five decades and his name is in the starring list of the great majority of the main Cuban movies filmed in that period. He is known for interpreting roles of “hard traits” in films like (“Barrio Cuba” (Cuba neighborhood), “Páginas del diario de Mauricio” (Mauricio´s Diary Pages), “El Benny”) and short time films like (“Video de familia” (Family Videos)), Molina has also worked well in comedies to the style of “Kleines Tropicana” and “El cuerno de la abundancia” (The Horn of abundance).  

Eslinda Núñez

This actress had her debut in cinema in one of the three stories of the paradigmatic film “Lucia” directed by Humberto Solas. Moreover, Nuñez has shown her traits as actress in films like "Amada", "Cecilia" and "Viva Cuba" (Long life Cuba). In 2011, she obtained the Cinema National Prize.

Alexis Díaz de Villegas

 His starring in “Juan de los Muertos” (John of the Deads), first Cuban film dealing with the theme of zombies, was very outstanding and it represented one of the highest points of this multifaceted actor who has made a solid career in theater, and who has experience in television and cinema (“Habana blues” (Havana Blues), “La anunciación” (The announcement) , “El cuerno de la abundancia” (The Horn of abundance), “Kangamba”, “Larga distancia” (Long Distance).

Laura de la Uz

Before developing a successful career in theater and television, this actress started in cinema, with a protagonist role in “Hello Hemingway”, produced by Fernando Pérez. In her large amount of films, where there are more than 30, we can also count “La película de Ana” (Anna´s film) (2012) and “Vestido de Novia” (Bride´s Dress) (2014). 

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