Memory and a Hard Place: Revisiting Central Havana

Marivic Wyndham, Peter Read


Abstract

Raul and Manolo are two Cuban men in their late sixties. Manolo left soon after Castro’s triumph to become a television celebrity in Miami. He returned in 1991 to make a clandestine film about the city which once was his. Raul never left his decaying city. He applauded the revolution, but little by little his enthusiasm soured.

The paper examines the relationship of the two men to what was once the ultra modern Central Havana of the mid-1950s. Manolo’s froze on the day he left: his filmed city is silent, immobile, full of ghosts, almost empty, ugly, ruined. Manolo’s Central Havana processes and changes, it is noisy, busy, - but also it is ugly and ruined. Both lament the city as it once was. Only Raul sees hope of reconciliation.

Keywords

cuba; exile; memory; urban spaces

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References

Castillo, Carmen (dir. and prod.) 2007, Calle Santa Fe, Agns B. and Love Streams Productions, Paris.

Chase, Graham (dir.), and Tim Read (prod.) 1987, Hellfire Pass, Film Australia, Sydney.

Com-Relieve S.A. 1999, A Guide to the Cristobal Coln Necropolis in Havana, Escudo De Oro, EEC.

Bretos, Miguel A. 2002, 'Historical Cross-Pollination Through 1960: Straddling a Cultural Frontier.' ARCH: The University of Miami School of Architecture Newsletter, Summer. On line. Available: http://www.arc.miami.edu/Publications/SOANews_SprgSmmr02.pdf (accessed 28 January 2008).

Riemer, Andrew 1992, Inside Outside, Angus and Robertson, Pymble, NSW.

Villaverde, Manolo (dir.) 1991, La Habana de hoy y de siempre, Ferro Video productions, Miami.

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