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A land of cinema and an essential cultural vector, cinema is surprisingly one of your best chances to blend into Cuban society
Cinema tickets being affordable (2 to 3 Cuban pesos or 0.15 CUC), the seventh art is very popular among the inhabitants of Havana
In spite of the schedules, the Cubans usually enter after the beginning of the film: continuous coming and going is guaranteed! The show is also in the room, people participating in the session aloud, whistling or laughing loudly without worrying about their neighbors..
Here, a “shush” would be incongruous, even unthinkable.
Every year during the first half of December, Havana hosts the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (www.habanafilmfestival.com); an unmissable event for Latin American producers, directors and artists.
The Festival del Cinema Pobre in Gibara in April is one of the fastest growing cultural events in Cuba in recent years.
Cuba also promotes foreign film production, with a strong theatrical success of European and North American films
Every year, in April or May, the French Film Festival takes place
Organized since 1992 by the director Christophe Barratier – we owe him the film Les Choristes (2004) – and his associate Nouredine Essadi, with the constant support of the Alliance française de Cuba and the French embassy in Cuba, this festival is today considered as the great annual meeting of French culture in Cuba
It is the only film festival that crosses the entire island of Cuba, all the way to Santiago de Cuba, since the French films in the program are screened in many cinemas in Cuba for several weeks after the launch of the festival in Havana
Illustrious personalities from the French cinema world come to present their films in the Cuban capital (Isabelle Huppert in 2012, Sandrine Bonnaire in 2013, François-Xavier Demaison in 2014, Costa-Gavras in 2015).
To find out all about the French Film Festival in Cuba, whose 18th edition took place in 2015, go to: www.cinefrances.com
CINEMA LA RAMPA
- Calle 23 n°111, at the corner of Calle O
- Tel : +53 7 878 6146
- Closed on Wednesdays.
Offers retrospectives and houses the archives of Cuban cinema.
- Calle 23 n°507, between Calle G and Calle H
- Tel : +53 7 830 9564
Latin American, North American and European films
CINEMATECA CHARLES CHAPLIN
- Calle 23 n°1157, between Calle 10 and Calle 12
- Tel : +53 7 831 1101
A large hall and a particularly interesting programme drawing on a rich archive collection
It is one of the institutions that supports the Festival del nuevo cine latino-americano and the Festival du cinéma français
Don’t hesitate to call to find a Cuban film that you have been wanting to see for a long time.
- Calle 23 and Calle L
- Tel : +53 7 832 9430
Programming of American films and art films.
- Paseo, between Calle 1 and Calle 3
- In the Hotel Melia Cohiba
- Tel : +53 7 833 3636
- Open from 8pm to 2:30am
- Entrance from 10 to 15 CUC.
Installed within the walls of the Meliá Cohiba Hotel
1950s retro decor, with some old American cars (Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick) and photos of Hemingway in the background
Concerts starting at 10pm
Good to know, the best bands of the Cuban scene (Azur Negra, NG La Banda and Los Van Van) usually play on Sunday night from 11pm
Clientele almost exclusively tourist.
PEÑA DE LA UNEAC
- At the corner of Calle H, Vedado – Calle 17
- Open every Wednesday, between 5 and 8 pm
Rumba and bolero alternating depending on the week.
To penetrate the heart of the cultural life
The peña sits within the walls of the Uneac (Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba).
TEATRO AMADEO ROLDAN
- Calle Calzada no
- 512, between Calle D and Calle E
- Tel : +53 7 832 1168
Its two concert halls with excellent acoustics delight music lovers
Home to the National Symphony Orchestra, it hosts classical music concerts, especially on Sundays
Latin jazz is also performed there.
- Calle Línea no
- 657, between Calle A and Calle B
- Tel : +53 7 830 5651
Shows essentially turned towards ballet
You can also see the remarkable performances of the Conjunto Folklórico, occasional plays and sessions dedicated to music halls (Humour Festival).
TEATRO NACIONAL DE CUBA
- Calle Paseo, corner of Calle 39 (Plaza de la Revolución)
- Tel : +53 7 878 3193
- Theatrical, choreographic and musical programming
The two main halls: Covarrubias (about 800 people) and Avellaneda (2,500)
The ensemble is completed in the basement by a café-cantante with excellent artists and a cabaret on the top floor.
TEATRO KARL MARX
- Avenida 1ra, at the corner of Calle 10
- Tel : +53 7 203 0801
As ugly as one could wish, but huge (5,000 seats), it was restored in 1975 to host the first congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (before the Palace of Conventions was built), it hosted memorable shows, such as that of the Russian ensemble Moïsséiev, which found there a stage big enough for its developments
Today under-used, the maintenance of this monster is probably too expensive, and is preferably reserved for concerts that attract crowds – salsa groups (Irakere, NG la Banda, etc.), singers from the Nueva Trova (Pablo Milanés, Silvio Rodríguez) and, on Sunday mornings, it is the turn of children’s shows.
Theatrical performances are usually held on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:30 pm, Sunday at 5 pm
Sunday mornings are reserved for children
At the theater, the show is also in the hall: people talk, gesticulate, arrive late and greet friends
But, above all, we don’t hesitate to let the artists know what we think of their performance..
If the play doesn’t please us, we get up and leave without waiting for the curtain to fall!