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The Oceans are the true Continents – Tommaso Santambrogio’s feature debut

The Oceans are the true Continents – Tommaso Santambrogio’s feature debut

Against the backdrop of a decadent Cuba and in a black and white torn by the Caribbean rain, the young Alex and Edith, the elderly Milagros and the children Frank and Alain, live their lives, made up of small daily gestures, stories of the past and dreams of future. While the specter of separation hovers over all of them.

Alex and Edith, two young actors in their 30s, live their relationship made of small gestures and a tender everyday life among the ruins of Cuban buildings. Milagros, now retired, tries to survive by selling “manì”, typical Cuban peanut cones, and spends her days listening to the radio and rereading old letters. Frank and Alain, two eight-year-old children, go to school and dream of emigrating to the United States together to become professional baseball players. In the context of San Antonio De Los Baños, a small village in the hinterland of Cuba where it seems that time has stopped, the three respective narratives and their worlds develop; However, in a fresco of contemporaneity that comes to life through the memory of the characters, the specter of separation hovers, a truly great plague of contemporary Cuban society.

The feature debut by Tommaso Santambrogio, one of the most important works of the year which inaugurated the Author’s days of the Venice Film Festival, will be screened this evening at Author’s Passages: Mediterranean Interlacements, in the council chamber of Piazzetta E. Piria. The director will be present in the room to talk to the public about it before the final concert of the festival which will put an end to this very rich edition, we are waiting for you!

Tommaso Santambrogio

Below, the director’s note on the film.

«The first time I was in Cuba I was eight years old. I remember that, as I approached the airport controls, I witnessed a desperate and inseparable embrace – with deep sobs and tears – between a father and a daughter, who had evidently found a way to leave the island and was not going to made more return. It was a farewell, a separation, heartbreaking and unfair as it was terribly daily and common in Cuban society, which today is going through the most serious migratory crisis in its history (almost 8% of the population has left the country in the last year and a half alone and the flow is constantly growing). Los Océanos Son Los Verdaderos Continentes (The oceans are the true continents) owes its origin to this image, to this moment that has settled in my memory and then entered into a relationship with contemporary Cuban reality and my artistic research; it is a film that focuses on the theme of separation, told and addressed through three different temporal perspectives (past, present and future) synecdotally rendered through the three main narratives. The film is extremely linked to the places and characters, true pillars of an imaginative universe which I gave shape by constantly dialoguing with reality and with Cuban memory (individual and collective). The method used for its conception was anthropological-historical research; I spent several years observing and interacting with local people, listening to their stories, understanding how they processed events and traumas in their lives, how they approached the “mourning” caused by separation from the people closest to them.»

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