Cuban director Jorge Luis Sánchez had to wait more than twenty years to create his film about the poet Julián del Casal and premiere it at a film festival.
The film “Buscando a Casal” (Finding Casal) was on the brink of production in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2018 that this became a reality.
In this time the director’s vision changed, from a naturalistic tone to a film based on the neurosis experienced by the artist, who died prematurely in 1893, at the age of 29.
Yasmany Guerrero, who is well-known in his country for playing the role of Fermín Valdés-Domínguez in the film “Inocencia”, was chosen a decade ago for this film, in the role of one of the greatest exponents of modernist literature in Spanish.
He landed the role at a casting session 11 years ago; he was informed in 2008 that he was going to play the sad poet.
“I feel a great happiness at the film’s release —the actor commented to Prensa Latina— I had a debt with Casal, finishing the film gave me incredible satisfaction, this is a great triumph.”
The process of preparation and study was very intense, the actor read and conducted in-depth-study of the poet’s works and of books about him.
“I had interviews with a psychiatrist and the director, in order to understand the neurosis of an artist like Casal, and to understand his personality,” he recounted.
For Yasmany, this project pays homage and lets people discover an irreverent, highly sensitive artist who sought freedom, above all else.
Regarding the direction and the cast, he stated: “Jorge Luis Sánchez is a director I had already worked with on the film Cuba Libre and had a friendly relationship with”.
“He is a very demanding person, but we had good chemistry working together; we both shared the same point of view about what we wanted and what we thought of Julián del Casal,” he stated.
Playing two real-life characters such as Fermín Valdés-Domínguez and Julián del Casal —both very important to Cuban history— was a challenge for Guerrero.
“Everyone has a different vision of them, and you are going to give that vision a face, and this image is going to become a kind of fingerprint for the future,” he said.
“These are challenges that give me great deal of happiness, because I have these opportunities,” he added.
Guerrero’s expectations for Buscando a Casal are for who the poet was to come to light, something that, according to him, is still in the shadows.
Casal was a very important artist for modernism in Latin America, and one of the main proponents of the movement in Cuba and across the continent. “I hope to be able to awaken interest in Julián, and for everybody to enter his world of fantasy and freedom,” the protagonist declared.
Buscando a Casal premiered at the 41st Latin American New Film Festival, which took place in Cuba in December, and was promoted in various cinemas in Havana, along with showings of 300 works from 37 countries. (PL)
(Translated by Rebecca Ndhlovu – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay