HUMBERTO SOLÁS RETURNS TO CANNES FESTIVAL
Fifty Mays went by ever since that May of 1982 when that Cecilia rather of Humberto Solas's than Villaverde's was part of the official section of the 35th Cannes Festival. Finally, the film that represented Cuba for the third time in this event was not the winner, although loosing in a tight competition with films such as Missing and Yol that shared the Golden Palm awarded by a jury composed, among others, by Gabriel García Márquez. Nevertheless, the 70th edition of the festival brought Humberto Solás back, already deceased, through his masterly first work: Lucía (1968), screened last May 27 in the 7:00 pm performance at Luis Buñuel Hall.
For the second year in a row, a Cuban film restored with the joint effort of institutions such as The World Film Foundation, headed by Martin Scorsese, and the L'immagine Ritrovata laboratory from Bologna Cinematheque, integrated Cannes Classics section. While in the previous edition Memorias del subdesarrollo, by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, was screened, now so was Lucía, that triptych of women immersed in different historic environments. Since January, Cinemateca de Cuba and the heritage directorate of ICAIC encouraged this new initiative that contributes to preserve an outstanding title of our national film heritage in another struggle against the scarce available time left to restore the original material, already much damaged. Almost a hundred specialists from the prestigious lab devoted themselves entirely to the restoration so that Lucía would be able to be present in Cannes.
And there was the miracle! Eslinda Núñez, the main character of the second story, flew specially there to rediscover this acclaimed work. Along with her, others shared the amazement for the new life of the film such as Iván Giroud, director of the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, and Sergio Benvenuto, his nephew, and the restorers from Bologna. The extraordinary images of photographer Jorge Herrera had a profound impact on them and on the spectators who were able to admire them for the first time. After the screening, some commented that Lucía was much better and more significant than any of the titles selected for the dull Official Section of a festival that is now celebrating its 70th anniversary.
Eslinda Núñez y Humberto Solás en el set de filmación.