F. Luppi Honored at Havana
Thursday 12 December 2002
Comments from Federico Luppi
Popular Argentina actor Federico Luppi, was greeted by public audiences here in Havana with a rousing welcome and the Festival will be awarding him an Honorary Coral Award. The well-known Ibero-American actor, characterised by his serious complacent performances, has become somewhat of a public idol here throughout Latin America and especially in Cuba where audiences are taken by his intelligence and sensitivity in communicating beyond borders and his special manner of humanizing character roles in the films of Argentinean director Adolfo Astarain.
"In Aristarain's latest film, the role of Martín (Hache) is universal and recognizable in any country but other characters in the film are typically South American, especially Argentine. Argentina is a country where there are a lot of fixed ideas that are totally false, like the myth that this country is unshakable, eternally rich. Recent events have unfortunately proven this to be false. Another myth is that Argentina is a country with a tradition of welcoming immigrants which it certainly did up to the 70's, but after the military dictatorships, Argentina discovered army intervention and exile. Hundreds of thousands of Argentines had to leave, reversing completely, their predecessors' actions. And this has created a fissure in the historical process of the Argentine nation. The result is exemplified in the exiled character."
"Exile does not add anything to the country, but is a sheer loss, also to the exile, who has to cope with the pain of having been cut off from his roots, history, customs. Among the things he lost that are reflected in Aristarian's film, is emotional stability and now at a mature age, Martín's interrelationships bear the stamp of the vacuum he bears living away from his country of birth, that no amount of affection can satisfy."
"Loyalty is a theme that Aristarain always handles very well because he works his way from a concept that is real, not abstract. This is the way he envisages his character, how he sees him and the way he finds to tell his real story, which I again repeat, is very universal." Aristariain comes out of the existing system and reinvests in telling artistically the story of that huñam existence."
The Last Train (Corazón de fuego) was a great experience for the three of us in it (Pepe Soriano, Héctor Alterio, Federico Luppi), because we got together after a long while. I had not seen Alterio nor Soriano for quite some time due to various reasons. Best of all, was how we finally got to talking. Argentina was on the verge of collapse and we could still manage to discuss politics, to think things over, to dream and to feel alive. And this was all very evident in the film by the fact that the actors from Uruguay had not been able to act in a film for a considerable period because the cinema industry there simply did not exist any more. And if we had not finished the picture on schedule it would have been impossible to do so because there never would have been any more money to complete it.
"I grew up in a very small agricultural town, and I left for La Plata, to study sculpture and art because I wanted to design cartoons. That is why I took courses at the Fine Arts School of La Plata. I had no fixed plans about my career and never imaged any actor could earn his living from acting."And it took me a very long time to get square with that idea. Very often, an actor's destiny depends on circumstances, happenings, little things that change your life. Suddenly, I did decide to be an actor but it wasn't a case of when I was little, that is what I dreamt about..."
"I still have lots of illusions and hopes that I don't want to loose even though they are almost daily battles and some are lost causes and Utopia. I don't think there is any other time when humans have encountered such a restless planet and it is in this restlessness that I find my hope for the future. It does not matter where we live, it's the same place for all, a home for the bad and the good and we all hold responsibility for it. We are developing a world of rich countries, entrenched in their hegemony and power and this affects the way of life and the way people live, almost to a criminal extent where impoverishment and hunger exist alongside such opulence. And all in spite of advances in technology, millions are dying every year simply from hunger. This is one of the most reprehensible things in the world. And I can't find any philosophic words to put this into. I still feel though, that in spite of all this, that we as humans, can find a way out and improve humanity because humans have it in themselves biologically, to create not a perfect world, but a harmonious one, in any case, one that isn't as cannibalistic."
Humberto Solas is a representative figure of Third World Cinematography. He made his debut in the decade of the sixties in this century when he became one of the founders of New Latin American Cinema. It is during this period that he filmed Lucia, which is regarded by world critics as one of the ten most important movies in the history of Iberia-American cinema, as well as one of the ten anthology movies of Third World Cinema.
His general work reflects a humanism that deals with the search for a national and Latin American identity related to the ideals of peace, harmony and social justice. In his latest and polemical film Honey for Oshun, he speaks out for the union of all Cubans regardless of races, beliefs and political differences.
The aesthetic of Solas is a passionate experimentation that takes classic legacy, inter-textualizes it within the perspectives of the contemporary cinematographic vanguard of which he is a key figure, since from the tribune of the International Non-Budget Film Festival, that he presides, he exhorts the democratization and freedom of a low- budget cinema to allow the insertion of new filmmakers as well as of entire communities into the audiovisual world heritage and whose premises are narrative, exploring a commitment with the well-being of man and his environment and a ethical freedom of speech.
His films have participated in the official selections of the Cannes, Venice, Moscow, Havana, Sundance and San Sebastian Film Festivals, among others. He has received awards in numerous International Festivals (San Sebastian, Huelva, Cartagena, Moscow, Milan, FIPA International, Toronto, Montreal, the New Latin American Festival of Havana, Barcelona and Cadiz, Spain). His film A Successful Man was the first Cuban film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Movie.
The New York Times, Film Quarterly, El Pais, Le Monde, Cahiers du Cinema and various international media have echoed the importance of his work.
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