News from Nowhere
123 min / 2023 / watch on Vimeo

A woman's voice describes what we see, but what she describes is not what we see or is not exactly what we see. The voice details a building, according to her, shaped like a dish with some marshmallows on top (sweet marshmallows or flowers?), speaks of changing lights, a bridge where people pass by. It's a strange thing, the voice warns, a strange thing, it insists. And yes, before us is a building, or the ruins of a building with broken roofs, cracked and stained walls, puddles of water, a diaphanous light. In the background, something resembling a walkway or a rusty bridge, but no sign of marshmallows (neither sweet nor flowers), none of the mentioned cars, and much less people. In what we are contemplating, there is no longer life where there used to be. Whom do we believe, the voice or our sight? What is the truth? Does the truth exist, or at least, a truth? Or is it that she and we see different things, and it's true that there is a very strange building, like a dish crowned with something resembling a marshmallow? What we will soon know, and that must be certain, is that we are going to receive news from nowhere.

The discourses on these processes and projects, almost always presented as monologues recounting a story, sometimes personal, sometimes collective or referred to, avoid polemic exposition by humanizing the emanations of historical events through individual experiences. Additionally, the montages of the sequences contribute to breaking the density of the conceptual discourse, with audacious solutions like placing the argument about the nature and outcome of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in a setting (a sign warns us that we are in Beijing) where a guaguancó (a Cuban style belonging to rumba, an Afro-Cuban cultural expression) is performed in a space that could be a circus ring with a never-ending juggler’s performance.

The structure of the entire film… has the discursive nature of dreams. Because characters dream, live inside dreams, tell dreams, dream of dreaming, and that peculiar logic of the dream (or its lack of logic) permeates the flow of the stories that unfold, in a montage and mixture of astonishing or rather hallucinated content and ideas.

Steve Fagin has confessed to me that reading my novel "The Man Who Loved Dogs" was one of the drivers that triggered the idea of making this film. And I confessed in turn that the experience of having lived my whole life in a socialist country that sought to create an egalitarian (utopian) society is what drove me to write a work in which my main intention was to inquire into how the egalitarian utopia was perverted.

-- Leonardo Padura
the author of The Man Who Loved Dogs

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@Steve Fagin 2023