French Film Festival


The big question on Saturday evening is not what can we do, but how can we afford to pay for a night out priced, for the most part, in convertible pesos? For a young couple, going to a disco can mean, a cost, at  least, of ten “chavitos.”*  Hence, house parties or the Saturday night movies on TV are best for your wallet. I entertain friends who come over and occasionally I go to the Malecón*, which remains free. I join the young people who sometimes hang out at the intersection of 23 and G to spend the night talking, singing loudly and walking from one side to another.

So I am happy when the French Film Festival comes and we only pay a subsidized price to be entertained for a few nights. That said, we can’t have a small beer after seeing the film “99 F” or the comedy “You are really handsome,” because that would cost a full day’s wages. After the programs we hang around outside the Chaplin cinema, or we go home. I was reassured by an announcement of a week of German films: at least for a few days, enjoying ourselves will not mean committing hara-kiri.

*Translator’s notes:

Chavito = A nickname for the Cuban Convertible Peso.  The word is a play on “Chavez,” the name of the president of Venezuela.

Malecón = The sea wall and the street along it that wraps around Havana.

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