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You are in: Home > 2015. 63rd Edition  > Festival Diary > Life on the mean streets of Havana
Life on the mean streets of Havana
Thursday, September 24th, 2015

A constant feature of Agustí Villaronga’s films have been portrayals of survivors forced to keep their heads above water in the middle of extreme problems in a hostile setting, which may be an orphanage in interwar Europe El niño de la luna, a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients in 1950s Mallorca, El mar, or rural Catalonia after the Spanish Civil War in the award-winning Pa negre. Perhaps this is what encouraged the producer Maria Luisa Matienzo to send the director a copy of the novel El Rey de La Habana by Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, as she thought that the story of a teenager struggling to survive on the streets of 1990s Havana after escaping from a reformatory had the potential to make a good film.

The director said that he had been interested in shooting the film because it offered the chance to provide a social fresco of Cuba in the difficult “Special period” after the collapse of the Soviet Union.


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