Faces from Havana - emanuele pagni

A few months after the diplomatic thaw between the US and Cuba, after the long embargo begun in 1962, I wanted to narrate Cuba, and particularly L´Avana, in a reportage with intimate traits: I chose to depict the true reality of the island, through the faces of the citizens living and crowding the streets of the capital city, far from political power games but being the first to cope with and heavily subjected to a social and political situation lasting since decades.

“Faces from L´Avana” intends to show the city facing a (probably) new historical era: not through the traits and features of a typical journalistic reportage, but rather through the faces of already adult children, through details of eyes, wrinkles, old people's faces burned by the Caribbean sun, bearing the burden and sadness of their broken dreams.

Dreams bloomed with the revolution brought about by el Che, Camilo Cienfuegos and Fidel in his early, far more promising years.

An Avana which appears different from the one depicted by those European "explorers" looking for easy conquests or from the one depicted by those journalists often attending the secret rooms of power.

We feel then the melancholic and silent, rough and true poetry of those who have always got by with a fistful of pesos or CUC per month as a wage; the poetry of a land in which a prostitute earns in one day the same money a doctor earns in some months.

The poetry of L'Avana, humiliated but dignified against the pressures of western capitalism and suffering the blow of all restrictions and limits due to the political, economical and social isolation.