NB. The Open City Documentary Festival is having a special focus on the documentary maker Vitaly Mansky. It fell to The Scientific Anglian to write programme notes for two of the screenings. Patria O Muerte screens at the Regent Street Cinema in London on Sunday, 10th September at 2:00 pm. For tickets go here.
As the critic Guiliano Vivaldi has claimed of Vitaly Mansky’s work: “Form is less important than content for Mansky as he attempts to capture the spirit of a time and place.” Perhaps the opening of Patria O Muerte – a montage of young women shimmying enthusiastically – is therefore an attempt to capture the youthful spirit of modern Cuba. Or perhaps the intention is to establish Cuba as a place of contrasts – the sheer vivacity of the dancers contrasts with the next sequence: unsettling yet quotidian scenes of graves being exhumed due to lack of space. Finally, the opening scenes work to posit a clash of generations. Preparing for the film, Mansky noted that the generation that came to fruition with the Cuban revolution was now beginning to die off, and another inchoate generation was preparing to take its place. Continue reading