More on “Marina”: Interview with Kiki Álvarez

As a follow up to our recent post about the enigmatic film Marina, here is an interview with director, Enrique “Kiki” Álvarez, who has drawn criticism for his unconventional cinematic language. Some critics consider the film to be a prolonged philosophical questioning and others as poetry on screen—so what is wrong with that? Here are excerpts with a link to the full interview (by Cubanow) below:

In his former film productions, such as La ola [The Wave] and Miradas (The Gaze), Álvarez has dealt with love stories tinged with everyday metaphors and conflicts of the contemporary person, such as emigration, return and the feeling of belonging. To learn more about this recent work, we [Cubanow] talked with him:

How did the plot for this film emerge?  Marina came out of an image, the first that appears in the film showing Claudia [Muñiz] perched over the waters of Gibara Bay that abounds with fishing boats. “This would be a beautiful place to shoot a film,” I said to her, and she answered that indeed it would. And thus, Marina was born. We had a character, a young woman returning to her hometown and the intention of developing a story around her. I dare say it was a pictorial inspiration, but in that landscape with Claudia captured within it, the emotion and the uncertainty of an incident was already exemplified.

How did actress Claudia Muñiz influence the conception of Marina in the script?  Claudia was the motif, the subject of inspiration and the protagonist of a text that she herself began to fill with her personal experiences and feelings. She is Marina, the character and the entire film. For her, I traced a map, a trajectory and she invented the characters and the situations. She wrote with the actors in mind as well as the humanity that each one could give to their roles. She would choose the poles, the dramatic nuclei and I would scatter (fix) them in the geography. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, finding the story hidden within that first image that propelled us. She wrote as if writing her diary, as if all that happens to Marina could only be of interest to her. It’s a very intimate film, told in a whisper in the voice of Claudia.

Emigration and return operate as recurrent themes in contemporary Cuban audiovisuals and in your production in particular. What specific perimeters of this conflict do you deal with in Marina?  The film unfolds in an interior zone of Cuba, where the action of leaving and returning is rooted in the experience of its characters. They are actions taken for granted, naturalized, and they don’t signify anything else than an existential need. Rather than act, the characters react, responding to instincts, to primary needs. As in Hemingway’s stories, the most important thing takes place under the surface of the water and has to do with casting the fishhook and waiting… to see if a whale bites. In Marina, waiting is the action that defines the old fisherman’s wisdom and the ease of mind that its protagonist attains, when she casts her own fishhook, her anchor, and gives up being a migratory bird.

Why does the movie have this title? Is it only to designate the leading character or does the denomination aim at other objectives?   Marina is Marina, and it is also a landscape, a romantic painting and a contemplative style and an emotional appeal. It is the sea licking the boundaries of the island, and you are there, trying to tell a story, another one that tries to reveal how simple we are.

For full interview (in English), see

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