Issue date: 09 March 2004

ISSUE DATE: 09/03/04

Prize-winning Cuban director Fernando Pérez will visit Bristol for a screening of his new film ‘Suite Habana’ at the Watershed on Monday 5 April, under the aegis of Bristol Docs.

Bristol Docs is an initiative to provide a focus for documentary in Bristol and South West England, on the basis of a collaboration between the University of the West of England and a number of associates, including the Watershed Media Centre. The aim is to bring to Bristol the new trends in documentary which are now appearing across the country, and indeed more broadly in Europe.

In ‘Suite Habana’ Cuban director Fernando Peréz takes his camera into the homes and lives of ordinary "habaneros" in this richly documented view of a day in the life of a cross section of characters - from a ten-year-old Down Syndrome child to an elderly peanut seller who no longer has any illusions about life. Filmed with fiction cinema techniques and edited like a musical composition, the film is sustained in a purely visual discourse, almost entirely without dialogue. Using music and natural sounds, Perez constructs a poetic and loving tapestry of a people who, despite hard lives, still have room for dreams.

The film has won several awards: San Sebastián International Film Festival, 2003; Havana International Film Festival, 2003.

Professor Michael Chanan, Lecturer in Cultural Studies at UWE and organiser of the screening, says the new documentary movement is gaining pace throughout Europe, “Large numbers of people feel the need for independent testimonies of the world we live in which neither television nor mainstream cinema any longer provide. All over Europe, documentary festivals are growing in size and number, and there are initiatives in progress to create an alternative digital exhibition circuit for documentaries in Britain and Europe. In Britain, two major new initiatives are DocHouse in London and Docspace in Edinburgh, which aim to improve and extend public access to documentary, promote its use at all levels of education, and, spurred on by the spread of digital video, to stimulate new documentary filmmaking talent. Bristol Docs will operate in tandem with both to support and promote the new documentary movement.”

This screening has been arranged in cooperation with the Brighton Festival of Cuban Cinema where the UK premiere will take place the day before.


Editor’s notes

Suite Habana, Directed by Fernando Peréz, Cuba/Spain 2002, 1hr 24mins, subtitled.

For more information, including arrangements to interview Mr Pérez, contact Professor Michael Chanan,

For more information on the film, consult

For further information on the Brighton Festival of Cuban Cinema please contact:
Ann Cross, Co-ordinator, Tel. 01273 471838 , email:

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