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

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

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“:

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.18.16 AM
Credit: THR /  Sunstone Film Productions, Yari Film Group (YFG)
Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.23.06 AM
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:

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.05.23 PM
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

Want more? Dale que tu puede,’ asere, and go like our Facebook page.

Fashion Items to Show Off Your True Love for Tacos

food and drink

Fashion Items to Show Off Your True Love for Tacos

Credit: @cescadarling / Twitter

There’s a flavor and salsa topping for every type of person – some like it hot, some like it mild. No matter what type of taco fan you are — carne asada, tripa, lengua or al pastor — we can all agree that our love for tacos goes far beyond the plate.

CREDIT: AllRecipesUK|Ireland / YouTube via Giphy

1. For when you’re trying to send a message to your man. ?


Someone is obviously marriage material if they make you feel beautiful every day – even when you have a piece of cilantro stuck in your teeth after taco number five.

2. For when a rock just won’t cut it.

Diamonds are cool and all, but have you had tacos? This is one bling ring you’ll want to show off.

3. For the moment you want to show you are captain of Team Tacos.

Hats off to the marketing team for the Triple-A Minor League Fresno Grizzlies, you da real MVP. ? ? ?

4. These two chains keep it real.

Who said you can’t be fashionable and savory at the same time?

5. Perfect for when you want to look dapper while you’re waiting for the pork to marinate.

You’re never too young (or old) to start dressing with fly threads.

6. On your watch… It’s (always) taco time!

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jordan M Whitten (@thejordanwhitten) on

The exquisite detail brings tears to our eyes. Just look at that itty bitty salsa bottle and jalapeño! This needs to be in an art gallery, stat.

7. Because tacos will never leave you feeling cold on the walk home from dinner.

Just in case for some weird reason you tacos al pastor didn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, you can always throw this on.

8. Tacos will never cause you to have a hole in your heart, unlike old socks.

These socks are too sporty to have your toes sticking out of them!

9. When you want to keep it real.

Everyone deserves the right to know where you stand.


READ: 11 Times People Made Tacos Out of Anything

Have a taco fashion item you can’t live without? Let us know in the comments. 

Paid Promoted Stories