Fidel Castro and his rebel alliance are featured in a new movie, “Papa” based on the friendship of Ernest Hemingway and Denne Bart Petitclerc during Cuba’s turbulent 50’s.
This film is incredibly special and different than any other made about Hemingway in that it is the first one that has been allowed to actually film in Cuba, the island Hemingway lived on and loved from 1939-1960.
“It was an absolute passion to actually make it in Cuba where everything that is in the script happened, where the finca (farm) is where (Hemingway) lived, where his boat was, all the spots from the Morro castle to Cojimar where he fished,” director Bob Yari said. “It’s all here, so trying to duplicate it somewhere else was not very appealing.”
Since there have been decades of tension between Cuba and the US, not to mention Washington’s 52-year-long embargo, other films set in Cuba, like “The Godfather Part II” and “Havana” were forced to film in alternate locations like the Dominican Republic instead of Cuba.
Filming in the highly secured and paranoid location did have its downside. For instance, notices and call sheets had to be printed out and slipped under hotel doors due to sketchy internet access on the island.
Despite some inconveniences, “Papa” did enjoy some benefits of filming on the island that seems to be locked in time to the era featured in the movie. There were a plethera of iconic 1950’s cars and clothing readily available for the crew and many willing local extras.
Filming on the exact location where these events actually happened was inspiring for Adrian Sparks who has played Hemingway on stage for years. He was able to “channel” the legendary author with the help of some of Hemingway’s actual belongings.
“To be playing a section of the film where he’s struggling with writer’s block, I’m standing on exactly the square foot of ground that he stood on, with his typewriter in front of me, playing the scene. It wasn’t acting, it was channeling,” Sparks said. “It was just allowing him to come through.”
Looks like it could be a huge success despite a few inconveniences and will be an amazing insight into Castro’s Cuba of the 50’s.
Image Via Wikimedia Commons