Health service

By: Ronald Antonio Ramírez

The year when there was no year (2018) tells us two things.
First, that its filmmaker, Fernando Almeida, the director of this documentary, has large pretensions. This self-made-man bison probably hasn’t seen many films in his life and doesn’t even have the slightest idea how to make a material of his kind in the nonfiction genre, but still, with his phone, he is able to achieve blueprints of subtle beauty, like those in which it is enough to place his camera in a way that the resource of visual ellipsis and voiceover say it all. Of this material, except the school mode in which it culminates – with that power-point-style thanks, which ends up injuring almost everything – the mismatches in the lighting of some moving planes and others also, without direct sound, which clearly confirm that this film did not take post-production baths, everything else is attendable and deserves my recognition.
The conception of the plane instigates the viewer’s involvement with the story, prays with adequate perspective planning to engage its components of e enunciation, pray statically or in a scruffy pose. In one or the other record the design of the photograph is undared; his frequent temporal leaps do not miraculously lose the fluidity of the discourse – something very rare in the work of a first-timer – even though the montage makes use of frankly disposable scenes and others of a colossal puerility, such as that of the sign he intends, without the emphasis, the cacophony of the aesthetic message. The year in which there was no year was based on the collective testimony that, in its erian inexperience, releases stampedes – not words – like those of point-blank guns. And how they sound!
Second, that Fernando Almeida’s military service has left him a gustillo, a love – let’s say “reckless” – for the TNT. His documentary and a pack of pure dynamite are the same thing, but of those that really explode and do not leave a Christian alive. I am not interested in polemizing here whether these boys are right or not, in their ways of understanding the extent to which the application, as a law, of compulsory military service in Cuba – by the way, is not exclusive to our country because in other geographies of the world, such as distant and neutral Switzerland, for example, it is also mandatory by law– , but highlight what beats after nonconformities and positions of denunciations: the face not visible from what used to be stated in the official discourse – and further assimilated – as a sacred duty.
Fulfilling the “call of the homeland”, a soldier tells us, has the same taste of an irony that at nothing attempts subversion; rather, the sincere naivety of those who shrug their shoulders emerge because they really care – I wish theirs – to be sleeping at home, in a hot, well-bathed bed. Some, like Fernando, were lucky enough to spend the “deferred” reviewing spiritual vessels or collecting mosquito larvae; others, such as the one who was imprisoned for defending his companion from the injustices of power, had a worse time.
One sees this documentary and has to agree no more for what he says but in the way he says it, nod his tightly before every testimony that clears what many still prefer not to recognize: in times when post-ideology is fashionable, here is the spirit of a disenchanted generation that no longer believes, for better or worse , or the mother of tomatoes. I mean it in the best sense. Live the present and point; the commitment of yesteryear, the “fulfillment of duty”, all of that is prose.
Although Fernando Almeida should know that Cuba is not Costa Rica, welcome is his documentary. In the last ICAIC Young Show he failed to compete in the select group of those who aspired to some prize, but we were able to appreciate it in the collateral exhibition of Bonus. With its minimal bill, this little note invites us to reflect whether or not we are prepared, before changing everything that needs to be changed, for something more important: knowing how to identify well, first of all, what are the real things that need to be transformed. Ω

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