As part of the 500th anniversary of the Eastern Cuban city of Camaguey, its inhabitants have arranged a great many architectonic projects as for instance the thematic promenade through the universe of the Seventh Art nationally and internationally.
The street of cinemas goes from the Plaza de los Trabajadores (Workers’ Square) to La Soledad Church. Even though for its people this might just be another avenue to move around early in the morning and to return from work in the afternoon, having to deal with annoying observers scrutinizing every corner of this historic site…,finding out what’s behind every door in this thematic promenade has been an adventure for many of us visiting the city these days.
Since when do they call this avenue like that? Who knows? Many of the people I asked can only recall that their parents and grandparents already referred to it by that name. It has always been a required visit for city buffs. It is competing with the streets that get to Coppelia in Camaguey, because La isla del Tesoro, a small ice cream parlor between the Nuevo Mundo cinema and Casa Blanca movie complex has taken all the affection –rightly, I would say– from the inhabitants of this city, also known as the city of earthenware jars.
This street has become a thematic promenade given that each of its spaces has a close relation to the cinema nationally and internationally. Thus, in a short period of time, barbershops, hairdressing salons will retake a fashion from Marlon Brandon’s or Claudia Cardinale’s epoch. According to some enthusiastic locals, these old cinematographic styles might come into fashion throughout the country. No one can say it for sure. As for now, the diverse haircuts that are moving around the nation might maintain this space.
La isla del Tesoro rises as if guarding the Nuevo Mundo Cultural Complex and with it, Sergio Corrieri in a scene from Memorias del subdesarrollo in which Sergio –the main character– discovers Havana for us through atelescope. This time the invitation is to walk into each window in the Street of cinemas.
El Callejon de los Milagros (the Alley of miracles), which is visited by authentic and mixed figures is right in the middle of this thematic promenade. From time to time, by chance –or by miracle– these figures say a flattering comments or an anachronistic phrase when we don’t even expect it. It doesn’t matter if they do it during the launching of a book or during the closing of an event being broadcasted!
Probably, they will walk by looking for the Casa Blanca bar at the end of the alley which will soon be inaugurated. Perhaps, in a few years from now, this bar, designed to resemble Rick’s Café in Michael Curtis film, will inspire one of these characters to become followers of Humphrey Bogart and say: “we will always have Camaguey”…
The Casa Blanca movie complex is by the Callejon de los Milagros. It has several air conditioned movie theatres with comfortable seats for the premier of international and national films. There is an interesting gallery dedicated to 3D movies which connects screening rooms. This place is always full of entertained spectators rehearsing the most diverse angles and distances to see photograms from full-length animation and fiction films. This project is new, but mainly enthusiastic, impetuous and contagious.
By the side of the Casa Blanca movie complex there is La Isabella. For lovers of good Italian food, La Isabella not only means definitive ruin for your wallet, but also a space where customers can play to be movie directors. Luck will decide for them and they will be able to enjoy food to the stature of Fernando Pérez, Ingmar Bergman or Luchino Visconti thanks to the design and furniture of the restaurant.
The Esperanza bar is around the corner and is the end of the promenade. But it makes sure to seduce us during night and dawn with the promise to be the “last one to close”. It shows us several photograms from our cinema, the Cuban cinema; perhaps with the longing, the hope that we always run into La Bella de la Alhambra, Casa Vieja, Fresa y chocolate … as a constant reminder that in Camaguey province there is a Street of cinemas waiting for our visit.