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THR Claims A U.S. Movie About Hemingway Is The “First” Shot In Cuba In 50 Years

This morning, we were treated to the new trailer for “Papa: Hemingway in Cuba,” a biopic exploring — you guessed it! — Ernest Hemingway’s time on the island. Again. And to hear The Hollywood Reporter tell it, it’s “the first film shot in Cuba in over 50 years“:

Credit: THR /  Sunstone Film Productions, Yari Film Group (YFG)
Credit: THR

This is, of course, incorrect. Cuba has its own film industry. Cuban filmmakers have indeed been making movies the last five decades. Let’s remember the 1999 documentary “Buena Vista Social Club,” an international co-production among Cuba and the United States, as well as Germany, the UK, and France. But, those movies weren’t about Hemingway.

For decades, there’s been a fascination with — and a tendency to mythologize — the author’s relationship to Cuba. The Atlantic’s lengthy “Hemingway in Cuba,” published in August 1965 (at a time when Cuban exiles were fleeing the island in the wake of the 1959 Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro’s rise to power) paints Cuba as a backdrop populated with limestone villas, sun-kissed seas and a Canary Island native, Gregorio, who lets “Papa” know when there’s “feesh” nearby. ?

The trend of presenting Cuba as a lush, mysterious backdrop for white, American stories continues. In fact, the IMDb page for “Papa” literally describes it as a story about witnessing Hemingway’s “decline into depression and alcoholism with the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution.” It’s this mode of thinking that brings us such time-honored gems as the inexplicable “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” and fashion spreads wherein inspiration from a recent trip to Cuba manifests in the form of a $14,410 chest of drawers, Gucci bags and yet another Hemingway:

Credit: Instagram / sarahamandabray

Because if Hemingway’s Cuba is anything at all, it’s fashionable. In 2015, Refinery29’s Connie Wang offered a look at what lifting sanctions between Cuba and the U.S. may mean for the fashion industry, an industry that, like film, has a long history of using different cultures as not only inspiration and references, but as literal background fodder. For example, here was English designer Stella McCartney’s take on Cuba-inspired fun:

On Monday, Stella McCartney threw a garden party to present a beautiful resort collection, in which she paired her billowing chiffon gowns, knotted-up separates, and sultry spring looks with her signature floral-sprayed, cruelty-free accessories. The theme of the party was Cuba, and the collection was fêted with chocolate cigars, rum drinks, a Son Cubano band, and two costumed men dressed up like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. (When asked about the intention here, the Stella team responded that the theme was nothing more than just for fun.)

Haha, yiiiiiikes!

“If anything,” Wang adds, “using two of the most recognizable faces of communism to support what’s inherently a capitalist industry feels like an exercise in mixed messages.”

And that’s just the trouble. The messaging is off and muddled. It appears there’s no real desire on the part of creators and artists in the fields of film or fashion, to add context, to place Cuban history and Cuba’s present at the forefront. With Hemingway as our proxy, it becomes clear that there’s no desire to actually know Cuba, but to experience it vicariously and at a great — safe, clean, Instagram-ready — distance.

There is a shallowness inherent in not wanting to understand what figures like Castro or Guevara represent before using them in art about Cuba made by, and for, non-Cubans. There is a longing, but a lack of curiosity. There’s a willingness to view, but not to engage. It’s Cuba as costuming, as beautiful and mysterious and maybe as a slightly dangerous window-dressing.

As sanctions lift and Cubans, both on the island and within the U.S. (groups that are neither monolithic nor necessarily in agreement, it should be noted), increasingly have their say and make more highly visible art of their own, this trend of pushing Cuba back and rendering it a one-dimensional, painted backdrop of palm trees and old cars cannot be sustained. Cuba, and Cubans, will stand firmly in the foreground.

But, hey. For the moment, keep enjoying your cigar jokes, your Che-themed parties and your Hemingway-guided traipses into a Cuba that never quite did exist.

Credit:  Mediapro, Versátil Cinema, Gravier Productions / Giphy

READ: Gina Torres Is Going To Star In A Brand New Show About A Cuban Badass

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Maluma Teams Up With Luxury Brand Balmain For This Must-Have Fashion Collection

Entertainment

Maluma Teams Up With Luxury Brand Balmain For This Must-Have Fashion Collection

It’s 2021 and we have no shortage of epic collaborations between some of the world’s biggest Latino stars and top fashion brands. Everyone from J Balvin and Bad Bunny to Cardi B and now Maluma have entered the fashion industry to sell a lifestyle. And people are buying!

Maluma and French fashion house Balmain bring us a limited-edition collaboration.

Colombian superstar Maluma has partnered with French fashion house Balmain to launch a limited edition collection that will be available from April 12 through June 1 in all Balmain stores, including brick and mortar and online.

The collection, which includes sneakers, blazers, t-shirts, pants and other ready-to-wear clothing, will also be available at Saks Fifth Avenue as of April 15.

The Balmain + Maluma line marks the first time ever the brand has designed a line with a celebrity. And it seems like the brand’s creative designer is pretty excited about the collab. Through photos on his Instagram, Olivier Rousteing referred to the reggaetón singer as his inspiration, captioned with supportive laudatory messages about merging their cultures and joint design process.

“Maluma, more than him being an incredible singer,” Rousteing notes, “[brings] a lot to the fashion community with his joy and his happiness and the fact that he’s always playing up his style from different kinds of houses from around the world, mixing different cultures as well… I think the collaboration with Maluma is obviously giving to Balmain and pushing the aesthetic more internationally.”

Maluma also seems to be pumped for the opportunity!

Although Balmain has featured other celebrities in advertising campaigns and runway shows, it has never actually enlisted a celebrity to help design a full, name-branded line.

The brand’s high profile, along with the haute-couture retail price of the collection, underscores how entrenched Maluma is now in the global fashion world and how valuable his endorsement and name is perceived by high fashion.

“It’s been one of my goals to work with a respected fashion house on a collection, but this journey was more exciting, as Olivier pushed me to design with him and sketch looks that I personally will wear off the stage and showcase high couture with a bit of Papi Juancho,” says Maluma, referencing both his album name and alter ego.

But if you want a piece of the collection be prepared to drop those coins.

Credit: Phraa / Balmain

Items in the Balmain + Maluma collection range from a black cotton T-shirt that retails for $495, to $1,500 high top sneakers to a $2,555 multi-color print bomber jacket.

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Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

Entertainment

Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

It’s 2021 and the Met Gala is back this year – after being canceled in 2020 thanks to a pandemic – with superstar poet Amanda Gorman being eyed to host the fashion event of the year. Given the 23-year-old’s show-stopping performance at the inauguration, the theme fittingly will be a celebration of America and American designers.

The Met Gala will return in 2021 with a very special guest as host.

Vogue’s “Oscars of Fashion” famously takes place on the first Monday of May. However, this year it’s been pushed back to September 13, in hopes that life will have returned to something closer to normal by then.

Epic poet Amanda Gorman is reportedly in talks to co-host the event alongside Tom Ford, who is the academy’s president. The breakout star of President Biden’s inauguration, Gorman is on the cover of the magazine’s May issue and the subject of a relentlessly glowing profile inside.

The black-tie gala, which raises funds for Met’s Costume Institute, is normally fashion’s biggest night and sees guests from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B to Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and even Maluma.

The event was canceled in 2020 thanks to a global pandemic.

The world’s most glamorous party was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, which was (and still is) raging the planet at the time. There was a virtual event in place of the 2020 event, with celebs like Julia Roberts, Priyanka Chopra and Amanda Seyfried showing off their looks from home and stars like Mindy Kaling and Adam Rippon taking part in the #MetGalaChallenge, recreating looks from past years.

This year’s event will draw inspiration from all things USA.

The theme of this year’s Met Gala has not been announced, but Page Six says the night will be devoted to honoring America and American designers, following the 18-month-long COVID crisis in this country.

Recent past themes for the event have included “Camp: Notes on Fashion” (2019), “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” (2018), and “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between (2017). And don’t forget 2016, when Zayn Malik wore robot-arms to Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.

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