Susana Méndez Muñoz reviews Esteban, first feature film by Jonal Cosculluela, who worked for many years for television. The film, which Méndez considers to be refreshingly different, is now being screened in movie theatres across the island. Esteban, written by Amílcar Salatti, features original music by Chucho Valdés. Here are excerpts:
Despite developing the plot in a very humble context in tune with the precarious situation in which many live in our society; the film avoids the sordidness, violence and coarseness that designate great part of our contemporary productions to set up as a credible song to hope and to the value of dreams.
The story of a child that with no resources but his talent insists on being a pianist centers the argument of the feature film, which has the original music of Chucho Valdés and script from Amílcar Salatti, who is the co-author of the present Cuban soap opera Latidos compartidos, and author of the TV show De amores y esperanzas, that was recently broadcasted on Cubavisión TV channel.
The particularly important performances in the film are the 9-year-old Reynaldo Guanchein, in the leading role, who took on the project with just a three month acting training he received after being selected in a casting organized by the Hermanos Saíz Association.
In a press conference offered before the premiere, the child referred to the support he received from the rest of the staff, particularly Yuliet Cruz and Manuel Porto, who made the roles of his mother and the piano professor, respectively. [. . .]
See related articles at http://www.cubacine.cult.cu/ and http://www.granma.cu/cultura/2016-04-24/esteban-24-04-2016-22-04-30
Also see interview with the director at http://oncubamagazine.com/culture/esteban-new-cuban-film-about-perseverance/