Colina, or how to monologate film criticism

By: Daniel Céspedes Góngora


These days, while preparing an interview for Spanish professor Alberto Ruiz de Samaniego, I included a question related to those critics who become filmmakers and do not exercise judgment again, at least as they used to. It’s like they’re attending a breakthrough in their professional life, as they suddenly begin to be considered creators.

The new category makes them decipher from the previous one. While recalling francois Truffaut’s partial views on criticism, they believe they completely nullify the stimuli of creative critics at the level of Charles Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde. But even Truffaut himself would continue to carry film creation and film writing. There are his prologues to books by André Bazin and Nestor Almond Trees and that, his unforgettable book of interviews The Cinema according to Hitchcock.

The director of The 400 Hits would not be the only one to alternate between film directing and film criticism. American Peter Bogdanovich and Spaniard Angel Fernandez Santos were two well-representative examples that both capacities can be conditioned and even found unexpected harmony. In Cuba, one of our most outstanding names would be that of Enrique Colina.

Colina began as a critic in the newspaper El Mundo. He then worked in the sound department of ICAIC until he reached 24 x second in 1968. Subsequently, it came the making of those documentaries in which the critics agreed with humor.

For the generations of Cubans that we formed with the best television program of appreciation of the seventh art we felt that there was a before and after. Colina didn’t discover the cinema to make us moviegoer. Rather, he shared with us the ideological supplies he had accumulated. Its purpose was to change our gaze towards moving images. She shared her opinion although she almost never got used to admitting whether a movie was bad or good. He was a critic committed to his professional ethics, respectful of the work of others, amparator of intellectual closeness. Despite the differences or better, thanks to them, he did not impose a criterion either. With maturity before the cameras, he would stop expressing whether or not the material chosen for the occasion was to his liking. I just didn’t have to reveal it. His analyses were notorious about it.

Should we have seen all those movies I criticized to understand it? You didn’t have to. He knew in advance how to promote a film and create expectations for the viewer at one time. The program could also show its didactic nature. However, Colina was responsible for the explanation of a scene or the relevance of a cinematic code flowing as a conversation. It seemed that one had already asked him something concerning a certain feature film. All that was left was to listen to him. The didactic method made its own when, immediately, a fragment of the film referred to it was collapsing. Hill suggested: Yes, you’ve seen movies and you’ll keep seeing it going forward. But you have to learn on your own to take a good look at it.

Today, when more and more texts are requested for print and digital magazines, when numerous studies on the audiovisual of yesteryear and hogaño come and go, the writing of short or extensive road texts are greatly appreciated, which interpretive and valuation criteria. In addition, a possibility of permanence is certified, in which both the filmmaking and its doers and the role of critics and their voices are prolonged. This again indicates that art and exegetic judgment are inseparable. Colina always took into mind the advantages of a written text on oral criticism. Not that I gave up writing. However, he chose and insisted on monologar critics.

Those of us who have experienced our own flesh head to a camera, with the help of the teleprompter or improvised, know how much we risk. Writing and speaking mediate about additional possibilities of daily living, but it can be very shocking to speak emulating writing, especially if it has taken years to do so decorously. To his self-taught training with regard to his assessment of cinema, Colina added his undisputed communicator skills. What to say and how to say it? Would you talk about movies alone in 24 x second? For more than 30 years, he would be in charge of answering those questions.

After time, we don’t know for sure why the show stopped broadcasting. Was he unrthodox? It’s true. Was cinema the object of analysis and, taken together, a pretext for addressing human beings in relation to others, with the time and politics? There’s no denying it. In rigor, it was another of his merits. Someone dared to express that he hung his gloves in terms of film criticism when 24x second came out of the air. It wasn’t like that. Colina gave himself to teaching in various classrooms, as well as that important festivals knew of the modesty and lucidity of this lord of the word.

Rarely has the critique in Latin America testified such an unparalleled paradigm. We lose one of the most prestigious voices of cinema and the practice of cultural debate in our country. Enrique Colina is dead.

Taken from

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.