An instant, a life.
Cinema is a trap from which you cannot get out - he said to me one summer night, at the terrace roof of his house in The Vedado, looking at the nude city, Emilio Oscar Alcalde.
Just graduated from the school of Film and TV of the State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow (VGIK), the young filmmaker had in his possession 3 short fiction and 7 documentaries produced at Granma Studios and he was preparing his first fiction film, The Enchantment of the Return. With the years, the works would grow and with it, the dimension of the trap that had caught him forever.
The documentary work was multiplied during the time that Alcalde lived in Colombia. Over there, he sharpened not only his vision of the world, the style of the artist, his sensibility and the lessons from the academy; but also his culture, where music occupies a major role. Cinema, besides a trap, is a coral art.
Memories of the bars, 1992; Alarm in St. Agustine, 1992; Gonzalo Rubalcaba and the group Project, 1992; Journey to the Heart of Macondo, 1993; Aterciopelados, 1993; The Street, 1993; Lucho Bermúdez, 1994; The Young Writers Serie , 1995; Ray Barreto, New World Spirit, 1996; Everything is Born with The Wind, 1996; Paquito D’Rivera, 1998; Hermeto Pascoal, Live Nature, 1998; are a sample of the documentary work made by Alcalde in Colombia, where he filmed more than 30 documentaries and the short fiction film “Closed Door”.
If the man Alcalde fell into the trap which cinema is, the filmmaker had no other alternative than to dominate the cinematographic language, under the influence of his masters Yuri Ozerov and Vadim Yusov, both as in his documentary and his fiction work, what is interpreted into a fine approach to epic. This has characterized the Russian cinematography from Sergei Eisenstein, Andrei Konchalovsky, Nikita Mijalkov and the master of masters Andrei Tarkorvski.
Dziga Vertov was also assimilated by Alcalde, specially doing film news, pieces of work with the ones the artist is delighted and prepared at any part of the world.
There is a critical intention into the work of Alcalde, what harmoniously integrates to his style. Or perhaps it is the style that allows him to break realities. It is not about direct critiques or political pamphlet. Then the intention would not make any sense. In the documentary In a Distant Place, filmed in Siberia, the spirit of the filmmaker is highlighted with the direction of photography and some of the testimonies from men and women involved in a crazy venture (cutting trees in the Siberian steppe at 30 C below zero, to ship them to Cuba). He gratefully places us before a huge useless reality, in which a group of human beings are uselessly sacrificed, uprooted from their habitat into a desolated land with only one purpose: nothing. Perhaps, it can be understood in this 18 minutes film, the essential about a political system, without fuss or misleading speeches.
This intention spreads its wings in The Enchantment of the Return, work that summarizes the knowledge and sensibility of Emilio Oscar Alcalde.
The film received the award at the VIII Cinema and Radio Film Festival “UNEAC”, Havana, Cuba, 1991 and it continues censured in the island. It was seen only once, at the Yara Theater, the night of the award.
In the Enchantment, again the absurd takes over the big screen, through a family divided and traumatized by the imposition of a wrong political concept.
In 2005 in the United States, Alcalde made the full length documentary René Cabel, the Tenor of The Antilles, a trip trough the Cuba of the 50’s and some characters (Cabel is the main one) which unveiled to us a country and a time. And reaffirms the vocation of Emilio Oscar Alcalde trapped into the coral art which cinema is.