‘An Elephant on a Spider’s Web’, Cuban Filmmaker Rolando Diaz’s Look at Longevity

Díaz explained that the film portrays the story of Simona, a centenarian Spanish woman. (20minutos)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 22 April 2022 — Cuban filmmaker Rolando Díaz has just premiered his latest film, An Elephant on a Spider’s Web, at the Seattle Film Festival in the United States, a look at old age with touches of comedy.

“Living 110 years is no small joke,” the director told the Spanish newspaper 20minutos, in an interview in which he explains that with his film he intends to expose “the inaccessible meaning of life” based on the testimony of Simona Hoyo, a woman who just turned 110 years old.

Díaz says that the film is a “metaphor of the weight of life,” where he tried to maintain comedy and drama, because “you have to know how to laugh” about human existence.

“What’s the use of worrying about death? After all, if we have to die, it’s better to do it smiling,” reflects the 76-year-old filmmaker who, to delve into the history of the centenarian traveled to the town of Villar del Humo, in the Spanish province of Cuenca, where she is originally from.

The production company Quatre Films explained in a statement that the film aims to “give prominence to women who washed dishes, worked and took care of their own” and who have been “secondary characters”; In addition, it addresses the issue of advanced old age and the fear of growing old: “What will happen when we can no longer fend for ourselves?”

After being premiered at the Seattle Film Festival in the United States, the production will open the Festival de Cine Documental Docs Valencia on May 6.

Díaz entered the story of the long-lived Simona through the actress Ángela Bermúdez, the musician Cristina Ases and the plastic artist, Alejandra de la Torre.

A Cuban living in Spain, Díaz left the island in the mid-1990s and among his films is Dossier de Ausencias, winner of the Best Production Award at the Ibero-Latin American Festival of Trieste, in Italy, in addition to Los pájaros tirándole a la escopeta,  En tres y dosLos camino de Aissa,  Cercanía  and  Melodrama, his first film made after leaving Cuba, in 1995.

In December 2021, the filmmaker described the repression of the November 15 march as despicable ” and expressed solidarity with the young filmmakers who suffer from state censorship.

“Those without a voice have the right to have it,” Díaz dared to say in Havana, in December, during the presentation of the Festival of New Latin American Cinema. “I consider myself part of the national cinema, especially what young talented filmmakers such as Carlos Lechuga, Miguel Coyula, José Luis Aparicio, Fernando Fraguela, Carlos Quintela, Heidi Hassan and Patricia Pérez are doing and have done. The last three names are already in exile.”

Thus, the director asserted that ignoring “the courage of those who only ask for the right to speak, think differently and demonstrate peacefully” would be “a cowardly act” for not recognizing those truths.


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