“Behavior” was a standout at April’s IFF Panama. Since then, it has closed France, with Bodega Films, and South Korea, with CAC Ent., the distribution branch of the Busan Intl. Film Festival and snagged a Best Picture nomination for the 2015 Platino Awards.
Cuba and Panama City have very much been in the news of late, and helping to cement good relations are a visit to the festival by Cuba’s acclaimed actress, Alina Rodríguez, and Ernest Daranas Serrano who directed her in “Behavior” (“Conducta”), the film Cuba put forward for the Academy’s foreign language category in 2015 and which was also short listed for a Goya for best Ibero-American film.
The film, which has become a festival favorite and won best feature at the 15th Havana Film Festival in New York, with Rodríguez winning for best actress, has also been registering solid sales prior to Panama having been licensed by Latido Films to Dreams Factory Europea in Spain; Fabula Medya in Turkey: Trigon Films in Austria and Switzerland; Kairos Filmverleih in Germany; Promotora Audiovisual MZ / Macondo in Mexico; Cirfony in Venezuela; Esfera in Brazil; and MR Imporataciones in Paraguay.
Daranas Serrano’s feature depicts the friendship between a young boy and a woman more than five decades his senior (played by Rodríguez) and exposes how bureaucracy, dogma and poverty are eroding Cuba’s oft-envied education system. Daranas Serrano’s credits include the short “Los últimos gaiteros de la Habana” and the features “¿La Vida en Rosa?” and “Fallen Gods” which, like “Behavior,” was put forward to the Academy by Cuba. His long form music video, “Bluechacha,” was nominated for a Latin Grammy.
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The star of the piece is Rodríguez. Born in Havana she graduated as a pathology technician before studying at the Instituto Superior de Arte from where she graduated with a Bachelor of Performing Arts in 1982. Her character in “Maria Antonia,” directed by Sergio Giral, established her in Cuba as a film actress. She is also known for her performances on stage in “Contigo pan y cebolla,” by Cuban playwright Hector Quintero, and “En el parque”, by the Russian writer Alexander Guelman.
Rodríguez is also widely recognized for her performances in popular Cuban telenovelas, most notably for her portrayal of the character Justa in the soap “Tierra Brava.” She also finds time to teach acting and has directed amateur and professional actors in community theater projects and is part of Cuba’s Teatro Estudio.
Rodríguez and Daranas Serrano met with the local media and presented three screenings of “Behavior” during the Panama Film Festival, including a free outdoor screening to an audience of over 2,600 at the Mirador de Pacífico.