If you walk down the Calle 1 in Havana, Cuba, you will come across a wrought-iron gate fixed with the Star of David in the center. Beyond the gates is a geometric 1950s-era building whose front doors are marked with gold menorahs. Since 1953, the Synagogue Bet Shalom (also known as El Patronato) has been a reminder of the Jewish population throughout Cuba.
Art and Culture
“Reality is so bereft of humanity, so barbaric, that we cannot grasp it without the delicacy of art. Through art we can feel the loss, and we can understand it without falling prey to sensationalism,” explained filmmaker Lourdes Portillo when I interviewed to her in 2009. My whole life has been shaped by art and literature, and it is no coincidence that one documentary – Lorudes Portillo’s Señorita Extraviada (Missing Young Woman, 2001) – changed the course of my life.
“Neither mockery nor tears but understanding” Benedict de Spinoza
Introduction: Lost and Found in Translation
It should certainly come as no surprise that football (soccer) holds a special place in the hearts of sports fans from across the globe. Particularly in Latin America, the pitch has served as the cathedral, and when mass is in session the pews fill to the brim with the faithful community. There is no sermon, however, only the masterful footwork of the finest players in the world. The Latin American footballer is of a different breed than his North American, European, African, Asian, and Oceanic counterparts.
El escritor brasileño Graciliano Ramos (1892-1943) publicó Vidas secas en 1938 con la intención de denunciar la explotación de las clases necesitadas del nordeste de su país. En la novela, Ramos retrata la vida de una familia de peones que deambula por el sertão sin esperanzas por su futuro y a merced de los patrones en un cruel sistema cuasi-feudal.
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s triumph at this year’s Academy Awards stirred much discussion; but not all necessarily for good reasons. Before announcing the winner for best picture Sean Penn asked, “Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” Although this comment was intended to be a joke, the controversy that it generated perhaps detracted from González Iñárritu’s well-earned win and highlighted to the older-white-male dominated nature of the Oscars.