To characterize Rudy Mora’s work, there is no talk of searches, but of findings, of easily recognizable personal brands. There is a courageous and nuanced approach to difficult and pressing themes of today’s Cuban society, narrated with an atypical syntax, that evades conventional forms of assembly and prefers restless editing – sometimes difficult reading – to achieve tempos that greatly contribute to “energizing” speech, always photographed from angles, framing and perspectives as different as hierarchical conflicts. “Each plane is drawn, thought out” recognized filmmaker and photographer in program 23 and M.
It is then worth noting the work of Alexander Escobar at the head of the cameras, by Octavio Crespo in the edition, and add that both the presentation design and Juan Carlos Rivero evade trite paths, with a theme song that prioritized uncommon sonorities in our dramatized, too attached almost always to a narrow concept of the “Cuban popular”. And it is clear that, in general, such a remarkable series is obtained with the contest of the entire realization team.
Leaving aside the director’s cinematic experience, if you compare results from titles such as The Other Side (2000), Double Game (2002) and Diana (2009), it is possible to appreciate a career of sustained rigors, eventual excesses and timely acomodos that in Con Ciencia already form a balanced work, which could well be called “author’s television”.
More than once the filmmaker has told how, from an idea of Joel Ortega, director of RTVC, he was given the task of investigating the universe of a group of Cuban scientists, for which he chose the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. There, a team led by Dr. Lidia Inés Novoa contributed a kind of brainstorm, anecdotes and experiences to nurture what would later be the scripts of each of the stories.
The process of creation, when these lines take to the streets, will be more than known, but it is remembered here because it is still the best argument to oppose those who were uncomfortable with the supposed “abuse” in the image of scientists, who, by the way, have been a part (important yes, admirable, but a part) of the Cuban labor universe. It is the latter (doctors, teachers, workers, artists…) who should also be reflected in the characters of Con Ciencia, without the saying losing the proper respect to our men and women of science.
Thus the filmmaker conceived ten chapters that in the end resulted eleven, in an ungodly decision, not so much because he broke the symmetry between the stories (that is usual), and so much that unnecessarily dilated the first conflict, focused on domestic inconveniences extended to the scientific plane (or vice versa?). It is clear that we wanted to emphasize the idea that the characters are people who face the day to day like almost everyone else, but dialogues like the one that put us in front of a potato platform too long could well be synthesized.
Mora has explained that it was a decision made because of the importance given to the work accident that functioned as a kind of prologue to the series (by the way, an anthological sequence), but it was worth trying haggling and ellipsis to reduce the conflict to a single chapter.
It’s hard to find fissures for the rest of the series, and even performances. It was one of those audiovisuals (Silently it has had to be, The Other War…) in which each actor seems to be aware that he must deliver everything, however humble his performance. Not all characters had the same degree of difficulty, but each performer brought nuances and craftsmanship to achieve a round, coherent finish.
Perhaps we should mention how Isabel Santos (Chapter 9: “Silence”) again impressed us, something that at this point always seems impossible, with that sick doctor who knows how to overcome fraternity to its limitations, and shows her personal tragedy in a parco exercise in words, but tense, angry in body expression.
Or it should be a separate for Chapter 5: “I root”, and highlight the clever treatment of generational conflicts that may become rivalry, although from certain confessions of the old teacher (“It is my life, pussy!”, says in a outing of candor), we know that what is imposed is the fear of feeling displaced by the inexorable passage of time and advances in technology. At last, the common sense of the experienced scientist, who ends up showing professional coherence, that is, of his commitment to science, prevails. Manuel Porto again proves that he is an actor of surprising resources, and Juan Carlos Batista did not give up an inch in his pulse with one of the greats of The Cuban performance.
But if these lines are allowed what may constitute an excess of subjectivity to choose the best narrated story from start to finish, the most organic, and where each actor perfectly empathized with his co-stars, he would mention Chapter 3: “Faith”.
We should mention the whole team: Adriana Alvarez, Ray Cabrera, Yoandra Suárez… But it is clear that Nieves Riovalles and Carlos Gonzalvo achieved moments of exception, in a story told with a moving burden of humanism and objectivity. Carmen, a mother who has not always been as righteous as she should be, desperately seeks help for her terminally ill son, who in turn is revealed to us as someone whose inflexibility has earned her grudges from people for him mistreated.
Each of the two actors “pulses” different strings. She, old and very humble, works all the time from dramatic (melo) extroversion, and Gonzalvo is contained, she knows of the subtleties and nuances she needs to tell us Tony’s pain and, above all, the need she feels to reconcile with her fellowmen (an alum, sister…). It is perhaps the most heartbreaking chapter, as it places the protagonist in the face of the most momentous limit situation: the end of life, and the need for man to leave in peace. The idea of death, forgiveness and reconciliation is not always so touchingly addressed.
Already in the last story, we should mention a fleeting but significant scene: that of Chapter XI: “Thesis”, in which Laura (White Pink Banking), in the midst of her despair at getting a roof, briefly approaches a religious ceremony. One remembers the blessing that, gratefully, Carmen had given her in the third chapter. And it seems that, on the fly, there is something that is barely talked about in our media: the relationships between a part of scientists, professionals, people in general, and religiosity.
There are always those who believe that opacity, errors and dreams postponed or lost forever, offer a dubious picture of today’s Cuba. It is true that there were sad chapters, but there is something inderrotable in the human spirit of that young scientist apprentice parker who continues to buy the books he loves; or in one who seeks on other horizons the possibility of offering a better life to his own; or in the girl saved in strokes of boldness and solidarity; or in the renewal of a friendship lost by ill-routed ambitions… There are certainties of arrests and desire to succeed despite unseated ninguneos and serruched floors, injustices and untied envy.
Bad or misguided feelings, anxieties and deficiencies, exhaustions and daily misery made Con Ciencia, in addition to an exceptional series, a pretext to show how many of these scientists grow up who, with efforts, goodness, human miseries and desire to live, struggle to get a better place in the sun. Just like everybody else. Ω