I chose to watch this film firstly to practice Spanish apprehension, and in turn, out of an enduring captivation with all things Cuban. In 2006, I protested in NYC against the unjust incarceration of the Cuban 5. After an invitation to travel to Cuba illegally for the purpose of providing much needed resources to an isolated people, I developed a lifelong interest in Cuban affairs. Now living in Canada, I may one day be able to legally visit the country.
That aside, the content of the film, "Amada" by Humberto Solas, draws on the old story of the internal breakdown of classist oppression in the wake of international pressure and domestic corruption. Here the domestic is defined both as the country of origin and the aristocratic residence. The aristocracy implodes by the will of incestuous love, from within the adulterous presidential marriage, for the hand of the revolutionary dreamer. A passionate, creative literacy is at stake as the emotionally unstable protagonist must struggle to emerge from the trappings of her own heart and that of the deviance of her husband's oppressive rule. By the end of the film, she walks through the yellow-fever afflicted impoverished hovels of the common people, as the presidential villa is stormed by hunger strikers from the dispossessed farmers of the countryside. Read a comprehensive film review.
Reflecting on the film, I've become privy to the fact that hunger strike is not an obsolete word in the Cuban political vocabulary, even today. Under the post-Fidel government, there is reason enough for young, passionate dreamers of new literacy to afflict themselves with terminal struggle. Read Yoani Sanchez's blog on Wilman Villar Mendoza.
________Downtown, I walk by the library. Usually a place of hoodlums, corner crows spying deep into the drug-addled core of the urbane West, a nightmare seethes through eyes lit with nostalgia and lost reckoning. I’ve come from old wood houses, family life on the water, foundations on grass and neighborly wildlife, the windy pines. Now, I aspire to music.
I see a group of rough young travelers, Quebecers, stealing across the prairie to a destination unknown to them, as unknown to all, a mystifying crowd, escalating with their sounding drums, a cacophony of cans and djembes, they are wildly talented. Two play a doumbek as well as any world-class percussionist. I join in, highly amused, jamming along with intentional spirit, a community of street languor and silly dope-swung dreams. Though my assumptions spit back at me, a gunpoint stares at my face.
“Do you speak French,” he says, threatening to murder me with nonjudgmental, hawkish eyes. “Merci” I respond. Handing a pocketful of change over and into their busking bowl, I stealthily walk away. Outside the city, back at the calm-winded house, cool riverine breezes blanket my siblings in peaceful naps. Before they wake, I exit, towards a nearby field.
An older woman, a family friend watches from the stoop of the front door. Our eyes meet from afar, speaking numbers unheard from our mouths, I continue on, shakily into the lone moonlit night. Soon, as I pass through a wormhole of overgrown, forested road, I am led into a city with the immediate turn of a spotlight; a bright glare prefigures the polluted sky with the damaged gold of human weakness. It is a native city of the hoodlums who I had an altercation with earlier in the day.
Massive television screens display commerce and public failure, an aspiration to woe, and the sickly art of rectitude. A votive triviality burns every wandering eye. A street-side host clamors with frayed tongues over the spillage of an alleyway tomb, unreasonable crowds fish-eye over ledges and stairways, pleading with the entertainment rite to move in its festering abuse to inhumane ends. Unable to get a word in, demeaned with the unsightly pandering, I turn back.
Soon, I realize the family friend who saw me as I was leaving had followed, together we return back to our house. Through the forested womb on the outskirts of the city, the young bandits meet us, hiding in the shade as we approach. With the instantaneous glint of a knife, we are attacked and at once evade with spritely ingenuity. Followed, the reign over a pillaging burst of hollow mongering, as they ransack churches and elderly communities in their attempts to follow us to our rural homeland. At home, alive, I realize she’s not with me. I tell the rest of the family what’s occurred, and as soon as I do, she walks through the doorway, she had overcome, her eyes speak with the wealth of her matured cry, pouring out into the silent comfort of our haven.
"To dream of witnessing a crime indicates that others are wasting or taking over your time, energy, and ideas. To see a criminal fleeing from justice, denotes that you will come into the possession of secrets of others, and will therefore be in danger, for they will fear that you will betray them, and consequently will seek your removal." (iDream)
_________slumbering amid graves
launched astral fleeting,
stone wrought misdirection to be filled
by the plagued European missed fortune,
a drought opening to ice age fruition
in the holy garden
beneath the tree of Good and Evil and its seeds
browned with a madness,
strong, birthed into a woodland street
low, dim face,
burnt with crazed flesh hunger
to consume a poet's lie,
lips all red
excerpt from "ghost!"