It has been more than seventeen years since "Fresa y Chocolate", a film by Tomás Gutierréz Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío, received an official launch from he Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts before going on to worldwide acclaim.
It is the only gay-themed movie to have received that distinction... until now.
Described as a psychological thriller, Enrique Pineda Barnet's "Verde Verde" ("Green Green") premiered at the Havana Film Festival in December and opened to the general public yesterday at a couple of theaters in Havana.
The movie tells the story of a bisexual merchant marine doctor who engages in a game of seduction with a man who is deeply conflicted about his attraction to men.
Tipping his hat to Rainer Werner Fassbder's "Querelle" both visually and thematically, Pineda Barnet says his new film is meant to be a strong condemnation of the homophobia that still exists in Cuban culture and an open challenge to the rigid concept of masculinity and the violence it sometimes engenders when challenged.
"It's not a festive movie, it was made with love, with true love," the director said to AFP, "it is an attack against homophobia, which is an attack against love."
The film already drew some controversy in Cuba for an early version of the movie poster which showed a bloody knife with a handle in the shape of a penis. It's been since replaced by a different promotional poster.
Also worth noting, the film premiere is being hosted by the "Different" Film Club which gathers a number of Cuban LGBT-rights advocates under the umbrella of the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX).
The Center is led by Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban president Raúl Castro, and a leading LGBT-rights advocate.
- Gay film on Havana's Valentine's Day (Havana Times)
- Film director Enrique Pineda Barnet's blog (Puentear)
- Redband trailer for "Verde Verde" - Caution: NSFW due to brief nudity (to read English-language subtitles turn 'annotations' on):