PORTRAITS ON THE MALECÓN  |  A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT A CUBAN WALL AND ITS FANS   ENGLISH   |   ESPAÑOL
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From 1997 until 2011, filmmaker Sheldon Schiffer visited Havana, Cuba. There he befriended several Havaneros whose special relationship with the seawall (in Spanish, malecón) provides personal meaning and mental subsistence in very different ways.  With a 16mm Arriflex camera of a nostalgic vintage, Schiffer invites his subjects to compose an individual  portrait of their most meaningful view of the malecón in Havana - one that symbolized their station in life, both personally and politically.  Each of his subjects, a poet-intellectual, a musician, two prostitutes, an aging historian, and three young students with free time on their hands, connect their personal ambitions and attitudes toward Cuba. Together they each collaborate with the filmmaker to create a unique cinematic "portrait" of the seawall, and ultimately a personal and intimate photo of themselves.  
  Traffic on the Malecón, circa 1950s The powerful waves embed saltpeter into the wall surface, slowly eroding the rock and cement walls. Repair is an eternal city work.