Title

Sueños al pairo (Dreams Adrift 2020): On censorship, archival footage, and independent Cuban film

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2021

Abstract

In this article, I offer an analysis of the Cuban documentary Sueños al pairo (Dreams Adrift), which was scheduled to premiere in April 2020 at Havana’s young filmmakers’ annual showcase. While the documentary was immediately censored preventing its premiere, I examine how the filmmakers José Luis Aparicio Ferrera and Fernando Fraguela Fosado use multiple levels of hidden, and lost archival footage and memory to create a platform for the censored lyricist Mike Porcel to write him back into Cuban musical history in their documentary. Through the inclusion of the archived past, I consider how the documentary contests what Derrida refers to as archival house arrest by bringing the hidden images and stories back into the present. In doing so, I explore Arenillas and Furtado’s research on the relationship between documentary and the law, to consider how documenting the past in the public present creates a space for intervention. While state censorship of artists is not new in Cuban film, Sueños differs because it does not focus solely on the government’s responsibility; instead, it also studies the role of his artistic community in contributing directly to his silencing and does so from island-based filmmakers in dialogue with the diaspora. Despite a promising new legal framework for independent cinema, the censorship of Sueños’s premier appeared as a continuation of the same control Porcel had experienced years before. However, I show how the resounding artistic community response rejecting the film’s 2020 censorship and its refusal to premiere their own films, points to a rupture with Porcel’s censorship and Cuban film’s past, thus highlighting a space for artistic solidarity absent in Porcel’s time.

Comments

© 2021 by the author(s). All rights reserved.

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Publication Title

TRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World

Published Citation

Farrell, M. L. (2021). Sueños al pairo (Dreams Adrift 2020): On censorship, archival footage, and independent Cuban film. TRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World, 9(7). http://dx.doi.org/10.5070/T49755853

DOI

10.5070/T49755853

Peer Reviewed

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