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The Padilla Affair (El Caso Padilla)

Sunday, May 21, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

Dir. Pavel Giroud. Spain/Cuba. 2022, 78 mins. In Spanish, English, and French, with English subtitles. Spring 1971, Havana: The poet Heberto Padilla is released from jail and appears at a meeting of the Cuban Writers’ Guild. In an attempt at “heartfelt self-criticism,” he proceeds to incriminate himself, declaring his status as a counterrevolutionary agent and identifying many of his attending colleagues, including his wife, as the same. A month before, Padilla had been accused of attacking the security of the Cuban state, his arrest mobilizing the intelligentsia, who addressed a letter to Fidel Castro demanding Padilla’s release, claiming his only sin was dissent and criticism through his poetry. The writer’s filmed mea culpa, presented for the first time, is the centerpiece of a story punctuated by interventions from Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jorge Edwards, Carlos Fuentes, and Fidel Castro. The Padilla Affair is an astonishing documentary that explores aspects of Cuba’s past that still reverberate, including the struggle for freedom of expression. 

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.