The sugar mill reduced to ruins, the main street desolate, and inside the houses a past encrusted in memories. “From model town to ghost town,” mutter those living in the town of Hersey, Cuba, as the one-time splendor is turned into a redoubt of nostalgia. Thanks to the talent of various young filmmakers, the small town in Matanzas is now portrayed in a short documentary that will bring tears to your eyes and a lump to your throat. A wistful walk for hundreds of people for whom the future unquestionably did not end up being a better time.
The unusual town had a modern urban layout, a prosperous sugar industry, a chocolate factory, and an electric train that still circulates, screeching and sparking. Everything is on a small scale, but functional, as if a dozen doll’s houses with gable roofs had been carefully arranged on the lawn. Thanks to the efforts of Milton Hersey, who was born in a village in Pennsylvania, construction of this curious settlement on Santa Cruz hill, east of our capital, began in 1915.
Yesterday’s prosperity and today’s inertia are the contrasting chords of the short film directed by Laimir Fano which was screened in the Chaplin cinema, at a showing where several bloggers were prevented from entering. Fortunately, its emotional 15 minutes are already circulating on alternative information distribution networks, where there is no need to comply with the rules regarding “right of admission” of certain cultural institutions. A magnificent collection of images, coupled with adventurous work on the sound and soundtrack, manage to transport us to that village immersed in homesickness. The chocolate acts as a trigger for the emotions of the characters, while the spectators – on this side of the screen – can feel the aroma and the texture of memory wrapped in the same paper as the chocolates.