The first dance is for Margot: Review of “Bailando con Margot”


In “La primera pieza será para Margot” [The first dance is for Margot] Ailyn Martín Pastrana reviews Arturo Santana’s Bailando con Margot [Dancing with Margot] for the ICAIC page, Cubacine. Here are excerpts translated from Cubacine’s Spanish language original (also see previous post Bailando con Margot: Film noir, Havana style?):

[Arturo Santana] has worked on the script since 1996 and the growth process of the project included several exchanges specialists in the field, such as writers Eliseo Altunaga and Maykel Ponjuán.

“For me there are several key elements in making a film: to be clear about the story I want to tell, choosing the cast and the sites where I will be shooting. Once I had written script, I submitted it to the critique of several specialists. We were making changes even moments before filming on the set. I am very happy with the story I told. [. . .]

Meanwhile, Mirtha Ibarra, one of the stars of the film, welcomed the opportunity to participate in a project that had her hooked from the initial reading of the script. “I felt it was a bit long, but I did it because I know that films are completed at the editing table, and this was in this case. I love my role because it does not resemble any I have ever done before (and have done many),” said Ibarra, one of the most acclaimed actresses of Cuban cinema.

[. . .] Bailando . . .  is a project that involved the participation of 42 actors and actresses, and a hundred extras. The film is an heir of film noir, a genre of the seventh art, to which the writer-director feels indebted. In about two hours, the film tells the story of the theft of a famous painting from the mansion of a widow, Margot Zarate. A womanizing, gambling, and carousing detective, intervenes in the events. The discovery of certain clues will reveal this enigmatic woman’s past.

The outstanding instrumentalist and composer Rembert Egües—absent from Cuban stages for the past few years—was responsible for the music. Speaking to the press, he said he was very happy to return to work with the ICAIC. “I worked on ¡Patakín! quiere decir ¡fábula! (Manuel Octavio Gómez, 1985) many years ago. I would love to continue. I hope this film will help the public to note that I am in Cuba, that I’m still alive,” said Egües, one of the most important figures of Cuban popular music.

Meanwhile, Víctor López, responsible for the film’s special effects, noted that the main challenge of his work was in “blend the digital images with those created by maestro Ángel Alderete.” Bailando . . .  takes place in four different moments in Cuban history: 1918, 1928, 1933 and 1958. In addition to the direction of actors, costumes, and props, special effects played a key role in the completion of the film. “The special effects should not be noticeable, but must be inserted harmonically in the storyline. Otherwise, it makes no sense to add them. I am very happy with the results,” said López.

Now we only need to get to the theater. Margot and company will be waiting for us there.

For full review, see

Also see

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