Philosophy of race

In a year marked by the lack of fortune of the latest productions of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that “Irremediablemente Juntos” (Hopelessly together) seems to be a turning point for several reasons.

It is, first of all, a sort of reconciliation with musicals after a film like Y sin embargo (And yet..) failed to meet expectations of a people who, from the philosophical poetry of Silvio Rodriguez to the provocative rhythms of Celia Cruz, breathe, dream and think of music.

At this point we could talk about how correct is the vocal performance by the actors involved (and they sing) in the film by Jorge Luis Sanchez. Moreover, the lyrics (perhaps too formally elaborated for a film) fully insert them into the path opened by the brand new trova. The composers of these musical moments of “Irremediablemente Juntos” are part of that generation that keeps alive the legacy of Silvio, Paul, Nicola and others.

The concern of the director for these scenes made him choose actors such as the male lead one (Orian Suarez) that while he works comfortably in times of singing, he doesn’t perform likewise in key scenes of his character. In fact, one comes to have the feeling that the intention of each parliament becomes monotonous, and in more than one occasion is not the one that best suits the scene.

In contrast, his female counterpart (Ariadna Nuñez) achieves a nice balance between singing and acting. In a secondary but complex role, Luis Angel Batista ─ who plays a young white lawyer from a large firm who hides his humble origins ─ may be among the best performances in the film. This is evidenced by his ability to modulate the voice, to fully understand the sense of the scenes and to move coherently through situations of professional etiquette or loving ones to others of drunken excess and street violence.

It is greatly appreciated the presence in this film of Fela Jar, with amazing musicianship of her voice, in addition to Blanca Rosa Blanco, who gives us a relaxing figure within a very tense story that will make us laugh, but singing is not her stronger side.

Jorge Luis Sanchez makes a direct approach to an issue that had been announced in previous films such as “Benny” or the very interesting documentary series devoted to the King of Rhythm, Benny Moré. In “Irremediablemente Juntos” we can not speak of irreconcilable contradictions between whites and blacks, the angle from which issues of racial identity in Cuba are often addressed. Each character seems to be a prisoner of itself, his/her own prejudices and the roles they have been forced to represent, the others foster success or disappointment but it is up to each one of them to link them to the problems of race and class and accept them as a guideline of his/her life.

The director seems more interested in describing the different actors that characterizes a society like ours in which, he makes this crystal clear, racism continues to exist even in an underhand manner. There we have blacks who believe that all their success is due to their ability to imitate the whites, and blacks who feel victims to the power of others of their same race as their social standing didn’t allow them to move forward; we have whites who hide their origins and true likes to rise economically, and whites that from their desks apply egalitarian policies when at home they argue otherwise.

When we watch “Irremediablemente Juntos”, it is readily apparent that the patterns over which each of these Cubans evaluates their successes and failures are falsely linked to racist interpretations; they are based on the stereotype that blacks are poor and whites are rich, while life in the XXI century proves, and some films show that, that economic factors (and not necessarily the color of the skin) and management capacity (and not giving up) of each are what allows them whether they will be able to knock at some doors, or some hearts.

 

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