THE DIRECTOR ANSWERS QUESTIONS
What is so special about the Havana as a film location?
Wolf Hermsen: Havana has a extraordinary history and has a certain magical aura. The spirits of the dead pirates, the Conquistadores and the Ché are still haunting the streets. The Cuban religion, the Santería, is mysterious and stimulates the art. You can find in Havana a series of magical places and buildings, too, like the church square, where we did some shooting. In addition to this the life situation of Cubans, as a result of the social history is exceptional. The politics try to keep people away from globalization. But what happens is just the opposite. The globalization is slowly invading Cuba, and life gets increasingly affected. Moreover it falls on an unprepared ground, like it happens to Roberto, who, like most residents of Cuba, don’t even have an e-mail address.
Why a puppeteer?
Wolf Hermsen: Roberto is more than just a simple puppeteer. He develops his plays obsessively, but in the hiding. In addition, he and his dead wife Olga, whose spirit speaks with Roberto from the other side, are connected with the the puppets through their blood and hair. They agreed to a magical pact which they pay with their life forces. In return they get the refinement of their art, the price is that they are slowly deprived of their vital energy, which is also a reason for Olga’s death.
What’s the benefit for Roberto?
Wolf Hermsen: By determining the fate of the puppets, Roberto is shapeshifting for a moment into destiny itself. At the same time, everything he invents for the puppets, happens to himself in a similar way. When the devil poses him insoluble riddles which are reminiscent of his own life, destiny plays with him and he with his puppets. This impression is intensified by the fact that one of the puppets looks like Roberto, even though Roberto is struggling against it and says: „I’m not this puppet.“ At the beginning of the film this connection remains hidden to the viewer, because the puppet stage is not yet part of the film, but only what happens on it. With the discovery of the stage by Roberto’s son Oscar it is revealed to the viewer what Roberto is doing here. Later, when the Norwegians appears, Roberto is adopting a puppet-like role, which seems funny to Maria, who is mentioning it in a later scene. On the other hand, the puppets appear somehow human. Svennson says that they look like they would be alive. He perceives that they had become real independent beings, without knowing that this truly happened through Olga’s blood.
Why is the theater manager a Norwegian?
Wolf Hermsen: Norway is a mythical, lonely place. The land of trolls and Peer Gynt. This matches well with Cuba, where the witchcraft plays an important role, as in my film. I personally consider the subject of magic fascinating. In the case of Roberto I don’t determine exactly whether Olga’s spirit only exists in his imagination, or is really present.
TO BE CONTINUED….