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The documentary “Belascoain” debuts tomorrow in Argentina, the first in the “Siete Calles de La Habana” series


Cover of the”Belascoain Pilota Street” documentary
Cover of the”Belascoain Pilota Street” documentary


Belascoain, the Street of the Pilotaris, is one of the documentaries that is part of the “Siete Calles de La Habana,” (Seven Streets of Havana) project by Angel Katarian in collaboration with a group of researchers.  The full-length film will be shown as part of the Basque Film Series that the Euskaltzaleak offers tomorrow at its headquarters thanks to Carlos Gabilondo.  The event will begin at 20:30 at Bernardo de Irigoyen 826.

Buenos Aires, Argentina.   As part of the institution's Basque film series, coordinated by Carlos Gabilondo, this work by Angel Katarain, renowned Basque sound engineer and producer of prestigious Basque artists, will be seen in Euskaltzaleak.  Katarain ventured into the world of documentary film some ten years ago.

“Siete Calles de La Habana,” is a series of documentaries that introduce us to seven streets in Havana with Basque names.  In the words of its producers, “the documentaries are a recognition, as well as a visual and sound study of each street.  In addition, the inquiry into the origin of the name leads to a strange exploration of the past.  Variegated images of Havana street life and with omnipresent music mix in this essay of urban anthropology and local history.”

The series that will be completed one by one will describe Belascoain, Zulueta, Espada, Ayestaran, Loynaz, Aranguren and Goicuria streets in the Cuban city.  The goal is to “gather a documentary testimony of the complex and changing Havana society today, while at the same time, delve into historical roots of that human space, paying particular attention to the Basque component.”

Three Debuts

The project anticipates the filming of seven feature-length films;currently, only three of those are available: Belascoain, Zulueta and Espada.

Belascoain, Pilotari Street focuses on the history of this street and the Basque pilotaris who were in Havana between 1900 and 1960.  “A presence that left such a deep mark that today everyone calls it Belascoain Street, even though its official name is Padre Varela Street.”  Using all of that as a starting point, Angel Katarain tells the story of the history of Basque pilota in Cuba.

Zulueta, Brown Sugar delves into the history of Julian de Zulueta from Alava, one of the most prominent clandestine slave traders of the nineteenth century.  The work delves into the history of slavery in Cuba, but also into the feelings of Zulueta’s descendants, from a journey in which some of them toured the old estates of their ancestor and connected with the great-great-grandchildren of former slaves.  “The street is named Zulueta since 1874, despite the efforts of the local government because it is called Agramonte,” researchers working on the documentary explained.

Finally, Espada, Being and Doing on the Bed of a Volcano, brings the historic member of Juan Jose Diaz de Espada, also from Alava, and Fernandez de Landa, known as Bishop Espada, “Who brought Neoclassicism, enlightenment and good works.” In the words of Katarain, “Espada isn’t a documentary but rather a beautiful and gentle presentation developed by Felix Julio Alfonso, Vice-Rector of the University of Havana and contrasted mainly by historians Roman Basurto, Alberto Santana, Juan Bosco, Arlo Will….All of them helped us to dismember this polemic figure of his time and completely forgotten from our own.” “A keynote speech covered in music and beautiful images that leave no detail untouched that also transports us and sheds light on the origins of the so-called Cuban national thought.”

First Installment

The screening of Belascoain, Pilotari Street at Euskaltzaleak in Buenos Aires will take place this Friday at 20:30.  As usual, it will be accompanied by a short film, in this instance a Swedish documentary Basker with introduction and discussion after the film led by Carlos Gabilondo.

Zulueta, Brown Sugar and Espada Being and Doing on the Bed of a Volcano will debut at the May and June Film Series events respectively. 

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