Vladimir Cruz and Jorge Perugorría, well-known for their stellar performances in Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s and Juan Carlos Tabío’s 1994 Fresa y chocolate [Strawberry and Chocolate], have joined forces as a directorial pair for the new film Afinidades [Affinities], which has just been completed. The press and public expect it to be “another success for the annals of two of the most well-known Cuban actors in the international arena.”
Cruz, who states that the film is a psychological drama, was inspired to begin writing the script for Afinidades after reading Reynaldo Montero’s novel Música de cámara. The film is produced by Hispafilms and the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC). Silvio Rodríguez, joined by Omara Portuondo, is in charge of most of the music. Afinidades film was filmed in Guamá, in Cuba’s Ciénaga de Zapata, but parts were also shot in a studio built in Santa Fe, Havana.
Cruz explains, “It takes place inland on fresh water and its time is quite different from what we are used to in our contemporary cinematography. We are only trying to meditate about the human being and their complexities, facing emptiness and the lack of rational explanation for many of the problems of the contemporary world, sometimes appearing that the only way out is to take refuge in instincts. Those instincts lead to sex. At least this is the way out that the protagonists of this story find: sex as a way of electric discharge so as to keep themselves alive, the manipulation of others as a way to cast out impotence and reaffirm personalities lacerated by loneliness. But the result is ephemeral and the attempt has unforeseeable consequences.”
The plot is sustained by two couples. One pair is Perugorría and Spanish actress Cuca Escribano; the other is Cruz and Gabriela Griffith, a recently graduate of Cuba’s National Art School.
Perugorría points out that “There is no doubt that my greatest motivation is the storyline and of course the compositional richness of the characters with whom we all identify [. . .]; we share many points of view. In this release we do not apply any formula from the teachers. We hope to offer something as original as possible because the subject has not been touched in our cinematography, at least not in the way that we approach it.”