14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 30 March 2017 – After more than three months of being excluded from the Havana Film Festival, the movie Hands of Stone will be shown at La Rampa cinema in the Cuban capital. The film, based on the life of the Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán, was not shown at the festival as a punishment because its director, Jonathan Jakubowicz, expressed his solidarity with Cuban director Carlos Lechuga, whose movie Santa y Andrés was censored on the island.
For several weeks the story of the Panamanian boxer has begun to circulate widely through the popular “Weekly Packet” in a high definition copy dubbed in Spanish. Now it comes to the big screen, although its release has been accompanied by very little coverage in the official press.
Last November Jakubowicz spoke on the phone with Lechuga to share the idea of removing his film from the festival’s playlist. After that call, the organizers of the event stopped responding to messages from the Venezuelan director to organize the arrival of a copy of the tape to the Island.
The discreet official projection of ‘Hands of Stone’ is a small victory for its director and for the national filmgoers
“Like the day after the death of Fidel Castro was announced, I thought that was it, so I didn’t write any more. I guess preferred to avoid the uncomfortable situation of me being in Havana, at a time of so much tension,” the director explained to 14ymedio. The organizers of the film festival said that the director “never sent the exhibition copy.”
“I felt that going to the Festival to show my film would be a hypocrisy, like when I saw international filmmakers [in Venezuela] photographing with Chavez while I was being persecuted,” he said in an interview with 14ymedio. “I was afraid to become that evil figure of the artist who supports the repressor.”
The discreet official projection of Hands of Stone is a small victory for its director and for the national filmgoers that have been waiting months to see it in the big screen. Jakubowicz predicted that “Cubans will feel the history of Durán as their own.”