’Granma’ Compares Filmmaker Yimit Ramirez With U.S. Marines Urinating on Jose Marti Statue

An American marine urinates on the statue of José Martí in the Havana’s Central Park in 1949. (File)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 24 March 2018 — The official reactions against the movie I Want to Make a Movie, by director Yimit Ramírez, continue to rise in tone. In an article published on Friday, the state newspaper Granma does not hesitate to compare the dirty words spoken about José Martí in the film, with the performance of the US Marines who, in 1949, urinated on a statue of Cuba’s national hero.

“Now more than ever, José Martí is a symbol of the country,” warns Pedro de la Oz, a pro-government spokesman who publishes cultural criticism in the Communist Party organ. “Injuring Martí is inadmissible,” says the journalist, who follows the line of the  Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry’s (ICAIC) declaration about the film.

Last Tuesday the ICAIC published a note confirming that the movie I Want to Make a Movie was excluded from the Special Presentation section of the Young Filmmaker’s Exhibition because one of its characters “expresses himself in an unacceptable way about José Martí.”

The state entity said that “an insult to Marti, whatever it may be and in whatever context, is a matter that not only concerns the ICAIC, but our entire society” and that “it is not something that can be accepted simply as an expression of the freedom of creation.”

A similar idea is taken up by De la Oz in his article, where he says that offending Marti “is an insult felt by the immense majority of Cubans.” The journalist criticizes that the coordinators of the exhibition and the filmmakers are now accusing the ICAIC of exercising censorship, while the state cinema monopoly is simply making an appeal for “responsibility.”

Marta María Ramírez, promoter of the censored film, has responded to the institution in her Facebook profile where she states that “the ICAIC is lying in its declaration to justify the absolute lack of dialogue and the censorship of I Want to Make a Film.

The journalist also explains that “there was never dialogue” and points out that the filmmakers did not withdraw the film, but decided “not to accept the new conditions imposed by the ICAIC on the Exhibition,”  which were to present the film in a smaller room, with only 24 seats.

The press conference of the XVII Young Filmmaker’s Exhibition of Havana, scheduled for Thursday, was suspended one hour before beginning and converted into an event with a single speaker: Roberto Smith, president of ICAIC, who read a response to the team that made the film, whom he accused of “unethical behavior.”

The young organizers of the show, however, did not remove from the exhibition catalog a page dedicated to the film directed by Ramírez, which now has a black background on which there is a note of protest against the censorship of the movie.

“We see a risky, plural, participatory film, like few in its conception, in its productive management and communication, the longest-awaited fruit of a colleague of ours, of a ‘son of the Exhibition’ who may lose, with this, the the only natural possibility of showing his work before a broad audience,” laments the text.

Throughout his career as a director, Yimit Ramírez has twice won the award for best animation at the ICAIC Young Filmmakers Exhibition, once for The Beauty or the Beast and a second time for Reflections and Green Men.

A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts, as well as of the Higher Institute of Industrial Design, he is currently studying at the International Film School of San Antonio de los Baños.


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