The Tribeca Film Festival is a New York institution. Founded by Robert DeNiro, it takes place in the neighborhood of the same name, and it highlights standouts amongst new films. This year, actors from Cuba starring in Una Noche, a film about teenagers trying to flee the communist island, were en route to receive their accolades at the festival when they, in fact, defected.
Javier Nunez Florian and Anailin de la Rua were to land in New York to meet the producer of the film, but they never arrived. They made a layover in Miami, the center of the Cuban exile community in America. Upon their arrival in Miami, they defected. It’s been some time since the heyday of the Cold War, when Russian dancers and cultural figures were attempting to leave the USSR in droves, but artists are still seeking to leave behind them the conditions of oppression that prevent them from fully practicing their craft. Not to mention, a much higher standard of living.
When public figures from another country voluntarily leave their home, food, literature and families behind, in some cases never to see them again, they do so at great personal peril, and tremendous cost to themselves. But I think that it’s telling that people still seek refuge in the US, the freedom to be who they are, without controls, without interference and without official government sanction. Here, they can do what they want, more or less. And that’s a hell of a lot better than what they could hope for back in Havana. Javier and Analin, bienvenidos.