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“4 Seasons in Havana”: the Netflix “Cuban” series

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Mario Conde walks through the streets of Havana. He’s in his fifties, dresses carelessly, is an insatiable drinker, divorced, the owner of a fish called Rufino, with a great deal of books and a bunch of friends. A man who left his profession as a author to turn out to be a police detective. Disillusioned and deeply melancholic. That’s how Cuban author Leonardo Padura’s most known character within the series Cuatro Estaciones en La Havana (4 Seasons in Havana) is presented for the primary time on screen.

They’re 4 chapters based on Padura’s detective novels, whose important character is a detective that solves cases of any criminal variant and investigates the “dark zones” of the capital: drugs, corruption, social climbing and the trafficking in influences of an element of Cuban society of the Nineties.

Cuatro Estaciones en La Habana has been available on Netflix since December last yr, within the greater than 190 countries where this platform offers services, including Cuba. It’s certainly one of the primary series entirely filmed in Havana being broadcast by the principal U.S. entertainment business company and, although Netflix didn’t take part in its financing, this platform acquired the broadcasting rights for all the American continent.

Tornasol Movies, the identical producer of the Oscar winning film El secreto de sus ojos, was accountable for the production. For several years Padura’s novels had been sparking the interest of international production firms to adapt them to television or cinema, but it surely was this vital company that was capable of come to an agreement with Cuba on the project’s production and acquire the financing for its filming. “I used to be invited, along with Antonio López, to hitch this production and our links to it began then,” says Lilianne Rodríguez, the Spanish producer who formed a part of the series, who confirms that Tornasol Movies had already worked in Cuban cinema with directors from the island like Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and in several movies by Juan Carlos Tabío.

The business agreement to film in Havana was established between the Cuban Institute of Cinema Arts and Industry (ICAIC) and the Tornasol Movies production company: “now we have a historic relationship with ICAIC and we presented them with the project so we could have all of the vital permits and authorizations for the shooting, in addition to a crucial a part of the production services,” she explained.

The talks between ICAIC and Spanish producers Antonio López and Lilianne Rodríguez along with Tornasol Movies began almost two years before the series was premiered in 2016. “A production of this kind means a protracted technique of incubation for multiple reasons,” she comments, which is similar time frame required to make a series like this one in any a part of the world for “its preparation, shooting and postproduction.”

Within the case of Cuatro Estaciones en La Habana, ICAIC applied similar demands as those for other productions made on the island, “often you hand them over the scripts, the knowledge of the producers participating, the dates and what’s needed for the shooting, in addition to the permits to make use of drones within the filming.” The permits were also given to rent the Cuban actors, as is completed with the remainder of the productions made within the country.

Despite it not being a Netflix original, Cuatro Estaciones en La Habana had the vital Wild Bunch TV distribution company, which, “after the series was finished, took it to Netflix as a proposal and the platform acquired the broadcasting rights.” As well as, “there have been other agreements that allowed its being broadcast on Spanish, Israeli, Italian, Portuguese and Australian television.”

Its broadcasting has not had the identical luck in Cuba, the series’ broadcasting has been almost symbolic, since the constraints of Web connectivity, and the restrictions to have access to types of international payment like bank cards, make Netflix almost null on the island. Many Cubans have been capable of see the series through the well-known weekly package that clandestinely distributes digital contents on the island. Nevertheless, the open TV broadcasting in Cuba is a possibility not ruled out by the Spanish producers, who began the talks to propose the broadcasting of Cuatro Estaciones en La Habana by open television.

Working with Padura was an enriching experience for Spanish producer Lilianne Rodríguez: “I feel this was a really special project, within the sense of brining to life on the screen a personality created by him, Mario Conde, which marks and identifies his work.” To make an adaptation of 4 of his novels it was vital to succeed in an agreement with the Spanish Tusquets publishers, which for greater than 20 years has published his texts. By way of the script, the structure of the character within the series is quite faithful to the novels. Like within the books, it takes place through the 4 seasons of the yr.

The primary chapter relies on Vientos de Cuaresma (1994; Havana Gold in English, 2008), a novel written in the midst of the economic crisis and of the Cuban spring when the recent winds from the south get here, coinciding with Lent. This story is concerning the murder of a teacher with an “impeccable” political and academic past and the seek for a drug trafficker linked to the college where Conde studied. On this novel Mario Conde meets Karina, a sensual researcher who’s a fan of jazz.

The second chapter relies on the novel Pasado Perfecto (1991; Havana Blue, 2007) and is concerning the disappearance of Rafael Morín, head of the Cuban Ministry of Industries. The principal suspect is Tamara, Morín’s wife and Mario Conde’s old love. The third episode of the series relies on Máscaras (1997; Havana Red, 2005). In the course of Havana’s dog days the body of a transvestite appears strangled, the son of a Cuban diplomat. Speaking of this case, Mario Conde is capable of leave the office routine to enter the gay world of the capital.

The last chapter has as reference Paisaje de Otoño (1998; Havana Black, 2006), a novel that tells the story of Miguel Forcade, a former official and art collector who in the future appears dead in Havana’s Playa del Chivo. The 4 episodes – each 90 minutes long – is certainly one of the audiovisual series that reflects the complex Cuban reality of the Special Period, “filled with utopias and lost hopes,” in line with what the creator himself has said.

Rosario Ojeda, rosario

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