Shadow Plays

Full of dark truths, new Cuban films and videos raise the shades on the island's past, illuminate its present, and -- maybe -- predict its future

This is Dalton's second visit to Miami. He plans to start work on a series of programs about social issues in El Salvador and other Central American countries in the fall. But he also is looking for backers for a documentary on the life of Cuban singer Beny More. He already has lined up the production team for that one -- old friends from the Cuban film and television industries now living here.

"I think that lately a group of people with common goals has arrived here. This helps create a situation in which in the near future some interesting things could happen here in the cultural realm," Dalton contends. "Miami's becoming the capital of Latin America, and I don't think culture can be left behind. We've just got to figure out how to go about it because economic difficulties are such an obstacle, but the young people who have come here are the ones who have the ability to find the possibility to do creative work.

"I'm sort of in the middle, because it's not as easy for me to live in Miami because my passport is Salvadoran," he continues. "And I don't want to live in El Salvador because there's not much culture A I've hardly lived there at all. I'm still going around the world spreading the word about the work that's being done in Cuba. And maybe that's my mission. More than showing my own work, what's interesting to me is to show that of other people who are still in Cuba. I think this can help to change the mentality that all of the Cubans who are in Cuba stay in Cuba because they're in favor of the regime, and that the possibility for everything they do has been granted by the regime. I think that to live in Cuba today means to survive. The people are surviving in Cuba in their everyday life and they're surviving when they try to carry out their creative work. Art is also a way to survive. Of course, some have incredible official support, which they take with their eyes closed. Those people have very specific interests, which come with their own risks. But certainly not everyone appeals to that sort of a solution. It's not the solution that I know."

Dalton turns back to the TV monitor and rewinds to a music video that Ernesto Fundora directed for rap artist Geraldo Alfonso. Color fades to black and white as Alfonso and a posse of musicians and dancers strut through the streets of Old Havana, coming to a rest in a junkyard.

"Maybe there's nobody left to give advice/Maybe they're hungry like all the rest," Alfonso shouts accusingly in Spanish. His voice softens as he sings the song's melodious chorus. "I don't know why they keep fooling themselves/What can I do now?/Survive/Keep going/Survive/Keep going."

Coopere con el artista Cubano, a screening of short films and videos by young directors, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday (tomorrow) and Saturday at Miami-Dade Wolfson campus auditorium, 300 NE 2nd Ave, 237-7482. Admission is free.

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