Vientos de La Habana (Havana Winds), the feature length that takes to the big screen the popular character of Mario Conde, created 25 years ago by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, made its debut in Spain on September 20 in the San Sebastián Festival and is being premiered on the 30th in the commercial movie theatres. Before that date two special presentations were made in Madrid, one by invitation in the Palafox movie theatre and another in Casa de América for critics and specialists.
It is a Spanish-Cuban production directed by Spaniard Félix Viscarret, with script by Leonardo Padura himself and Lucía López Coll. A shorter version of this film will be the first chapter of a miniseries of four chapters to be premiered starting January next year in several countries’ television networks, and which corresponds to the four novels that make up the series of Las cuatro estaciones: «Havana Blue,» “Havana Gold,” “Havana Red” and “Havana Black.”
Perhaps it is difficult for Leonardo Padura’s regular readers to identify with the new face of Mario Conde. Perhaps they imagine him thinner, a bit mistreated by alcohol and with the voice of a hardened smoker, but the truth is that beyond the external appearances, actor Jorge Perugorría has been able to transmit the human warmth and intimate fragileness of the character, as efficient as a police investigator as he is capable of discovering the mysteries of the human soul.
Other well-known Cuban actors accompany Perugorría, like Luis Alberto García in the part of Carlos “el Flaco,”, Mario Guerra, who plays Candito “el Rojo,” Vladimir Cruz, who gives life to Conde’s eternal rival, Lieutenant Fabricio, Alberto Molina, turned into Major Rangel, and Carlos Enrique Almirante, as the young Sergeant Manolo Palacios.
Colombian actress living in Spain Juana Acosta has the challenge of becoming Karina, an attractive and elusive woman who moves the vulnerable Mario Conde, always ready to give in without feigning in all his relations, at the risk of being hurt.
In the transfer from literature to film, the scriptwriters’ aim was to respect the spirit of the novels, though the police plot was reinforced to become, according to director Félix Viscarret, a proposal of “Caribbean noir,” with aesthetics very close to the crime film genre.
With contemporary Cuba as a reference, Viscarret is also able to reveal the decadent beauty of Havana and strengthen the leading role of the city in these novels where Padura’s characters live their stories, immersed in an always difficult reality. (2016)
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