Cuban animated feature film makes gender violence visible

For the filmmaker Ernesto Piña, from the island’s media, the issue of gender violence is still a challenge.

Photo: Courtesy of ICAIC

Havana, Dec 7.- “La Súper”, the eighth Cuban animated feature film and the first by director Ernesto Piña, grabs headlines for addressing the issue of gender violence against women from that artistic perspective on the island.

The most recent audiovisual work by the director of classics such as the series “Puberty”, the controversial short film “Sin mince words”, “M-5”, “Wajiros” and “La visita del moscón” is aimed at people over 16 years of age and is in the selection of films of the current edition of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.

“People who know my previous cartoons know that I care about talking about social issues, generally in a fun tone, and always leaving a positive flavor that moves thought,” explains Piña.

In the director’s opinion, the approach to gender violence “continues to be a challenge from the Cuban media.”

In this regard, he assures: “I don’t dare to touch on any subject without investigating it first, to then think of a script that is not a brick (dense or tedious) for the public. If I am going to touch on a complex topic, as in this case, I try to find a formula that is somehow attractive, otherwise the audience gets bored and doesn’t assimilate well the message or the story that is going to be told in the film”.

However, it notes that “the seriousness of the subject (gender violence) does not allow for any entertainment, but the film did maintain the resources of entertainment, of the adventure genre, with touches of fantasy, so that it connects with the audience it is going to. destined,” he says.

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The actress and presenter Ariana Álvarez embodies the character Yudeisi/La Súper and is grateful for having lent her her voice. Regarding her experience, she values: “I am an independent woman. I believe in the strength of spirit, mind and physique of women. I feel like it’s a responsibility to be a part of the movie.”

Likewise, he points out that the public is used to “seeing cartoons where the protagonists are pretty and thin women. The Super breaks with those canons and stereotypes. She is a chubby girl, she is not a Barbie or Wonder Woman”.

About the design of the leading female character, Piña says that when the co-writer of “La Súper”, Hugo Rivalta, presented the film project to the Animation Department of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), it was about a decade researching on the issue of violence against women.

Rivalta was also part of the production team for the animated television series “Puberty,” based on research by the National Center for Sexual Education (Cenesex) on Cuban adolescence.

From the experience of being advised by specialists from that center and from the investigations they carried out on gender violence, they came up with “the idea of ​​creating a kind of superheroine and making a difference,” says Piña.

He notes that his intention was not for La Súper to attack the villains “because violence generates more violence. We tried to make her have a super power, half divine, half fantastic, and not hurt the villains, but clear their minds: the power of harmony, as the deity known as Jevalentina (voiced by actress Tahimí) calls it. Alvariño).

In addition, he explains that the film refers to the classic film noir, with mobsters, clubs and night bars, where the striptease feminine. It takes place in City X, to demonstrate that gender violence is a universal issue.

“The film deserves to be seen because it proposes to reflect on a social and world content that unfortunately is still alive. We always proposed to contribute with this work to the fight against violence and mistreatment of women and girls. It is very important for us to have achieved it”, affirms the director.

Long way to premiere

The anime materialized after a process of realization that took three years. In 2019, the ICAIC presidency approved the project and the recording of the voices and the preparation of the story board Until, in March 2020, with the arrival of the covid, the filmmakers had to rethink their production strategy.

According to what Piña told during the premiere of the film, on November 18, in Havana, the work to have “La Súper” ready and to compete within the official selection of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, was resumed in January of this year.

In the feature film, 2D animation is fundamentally used, although for some scenarios, vehicles, internal and external planes of the cars, the animators resorted to the 3D technique. In addition, the use of traditional semi-animation provided great rhythm to the final edition, according to critics.

The specialized media also highlight the work of Virgilio “Villy”, in charge of the film’s musical composition, within the “rocky” style, as well as the sound provided by the group Toques del Río from Pinar del Río and Carlos Nelson Sánchez “Charly’n Ya”, urban music artist.

Outstanding in the cast are Omar Franco (villain Bacilio), Lezvy Samper (Brenda), Mario Guerra (Roly), Kike Quiñones (Santi), Blanca Rosa Blanco (Lucía) and Carlos Gonzalvo (Coronel), among others. (2022)

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Cuban animated feature film makes gender violence visible

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