Cuban filmmaker Lourdes Laura Prieto Pérez-Castañeda, considered one of the great documentary filmmakers of Cuban cinema, died this Tuesday at the age of 70, a victim of cancer.
“Last night the filmmaker Lourdes Prieto died of a painful illness. Our condolences to family and friends. She was an excellent documentary maker and assistant director of many Cuban films, “said Lourdes De Los Santos, President of the Association of Film, Radio and Television at the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC).
His career as a filmmaker was marked by the passion and resolution that distinguished his work, according to the film critic Luciano Castillo in Cubacine, who praised the vast and solid culture that characterized the filmmaker.
“Every filmmaker had the privilege of having her on their production team, recognized the satisfaction for the delivery of such a competent professional,” said Castillo, highlighting her prestige as an assistant director of several Cuban filmmakers who saw in her a professional with solid training and executive ability, a quality highly prized in the film industry.
Pastor Vega’s assistant director at Portrait of Teresa (1979), Love in minefield (1987) and In the air (1988), Lourdes was promoted in the 90s to assistant director of directors who marked those years with their works.
Lovely lies (1991), by Gerardo Chijona; The elephant and the bicycle (1994) and Waiting list (2000), by Juan Carlos Tabío; they had Lourdes as assistant director. As such he also served in Guantanamera (1995), by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío.
As an assistant director of these filmmakers, Lourdes was in charge of coordinating the different production phases of these films: preparation, filming and post-production; functions for which he demonstrated a celebrated ability.
The figure of the assistant director or assistant director is key in film shoots. Together with the cinematographer, the assistant director is the film director’s main ally during the production phase and his main responsibility is to draw up the shooting plan and, above all, to ensure that it is carried out. On the film set, he assumes the head of the production department and acts as the director’s liaison with the heads of the other departments (costumes, lighting, etc.).
Tropical dreamby Miguel Torres; King and queen, by Julio García Espinosa; Knocks at my doorby the Argentine Alejandro Saderman; or Mate, by Basque directors Eneko Olasagasti and Carlos Zabala, were other films in which Lourdes left her mark as assistant director.
However, his talents spanned other areas of cinematography. According to Castillo, “the original plot concocted by Gerardo Chijona and Eduardo del Llano for the film Perfect wrong love (2004), directed by the first, started from an idea by Lourdes Prieto. That title closed her filmography as assistant director ”.
Her work as a director includes a dozen documentaries that she made with special sensitivity, according to Castillo, approaching the themes and characters after researching them in depth.
For the eye that looks: Mendive (1993), Under the lunar night (1998), Rumor of time (2000), Conversing with Ruth (2001), The magic of the labyrinth (2009), about Jaime Sarusky, and Mirtha (2015), about the actress Mirtha Ibarra, were some of her most critically celebrated documentaries.
In 2019, Lourdes made her last two documentaries: Evocation, about Saúl Yelín, tireless promoter of Cuban cinema, and The guarachero is me, on the famous Regulan troupe. “It was a pleasure to collaborate with someone like Lourdes Prieto, who devoted herself completely to whatever she proposed,” Castillo said.
For this critic, the excellent feature film stands out in Lourdes’s filmography There is a group that says … (2013), which transcends the chronicle about the mythical Group of Sound Experimentation of the ICAIC to encompass the complex cultural, political and social context in which it emerged and left a deep imprint and portrait of an entire era.
“A great documentary maker. His latest works were true jewels ”, considered Mario Piedra Rodríguez. “I add my condolences for the death of a wonderful human being, a college student, a dear friend. One begins to feel, or is, a survivor, “said Luis Toledo Sande.
“I am very sorry, I knew that she was very ill, with her irreparable ailment. I met her personally when she started researching for her wonderful documentary There is a group that says … I even had the great satisfaction of presenting it at the Santiago Álvarez Chair conference before the students of our Elective. He spoke precisely about that documentary. The young people were amazed by her and her work ”, assured Teresita Herrera.
“He leaves us the memory of a person faithful to his dreams and duties always assumed with professional integrity. He managed to humanize his actions with the peculiar stamp of his attractive way, his ‘heart’ the joyful, the important. Kiss Lourdes. That infinite clapboards applaud your improbable goodbye ”, expressed Cuban actor Patricio Wood on social networks.