Cuban cinema is full of characters that live with its hegemonic masculinity without this representing a problem within the plot.However, this trend is sometimes crisis, and some of the most cimeros examples are in three characters played by actor Mario Balmaseda, National Prize for Film 2021.

As a brand over fire, the Mario presented by Sara Gómez in a certain way (1974), Manolo in the useless death of my partner Manolo (Julio García Espinosa, 1989) and Otto in the work of the century (Carlos Quintela, 2015).

It cannot be said that these three characters played by Balmaseda are exactly the same.Each one more or less effectively faces their masculinity and their duty to be in the public and revolutionary space.

However, it is tempting to draw a line among the young man of a certain ..., the friend of my partner ... and the páter families of the work ..., because his vital paths in fiction are tragic.And not only because of the traditionalist and gerontophobic gaze on life, but because of the sentimental loneliness that surrounds these characters.

“Tengo un miedo del carajo”

Heteronormative masculinity has been built on the basis of virility, which is the banishment of the word "fear";But not as the absence of this in physical reflexes, but to its denial as a feeling.

Men "cis" (gender identity coincides with their biological sex) has not been allowed to feel for a long time, and have based all their culture on hatred of this action precisely, feeling.This is why Sara Gómez Cala's film is very deep, like no other since the beginning of the revolutionary process, in the meaning of the masculine in public and private space.

Through this film deconstruction, a hegemonic deconstruction was raised.That "fear" that the Balmaseda character feels, is not only not to live up to a social process that demands precise attitudes of him, but to that this can take him to the disassembly of his masculinity.

The revolution in this film comes to face the feminine role of putting the order, which calls good living and, within it, many men are put in moral and behavioral crossroads, in order to join an ideal in which they believed.

To ensure this change, like any social process, the Cuban of ’59 also made sure to create institutional structures for the formation of a new masculinity.Thus he created the mandatory active military service, of which the film refers us to its creation.Also, to regulate the relationship of men with public space, Law 1231, 1971, better known as "Law against Vagrace" was created..

Los no tan inútiles miedos de Mario Balmaseda - IPS Cuba

Both events are important in the life of the character played by Balmaseda, because next to the neighborhood of origin, they created a different mario, which seeks to challenge more than the subjects of the context where the film develops, those who are outside.For this, the interpreter based his performance on corporality and classic gestures of masculinity, such as elusive looks in each dramatic situation that required some intimacy.

“Yo soy un hombre a toda”

In the film the useless death ..., Balmaseda's Manol.Gesticulation is part of Cuban masculinity.This is not used to increase the perception of national extroversion but to intimidate the opponent.

The gesture that Balmaseda incorporates its characters returns here and that not only represents its theatrical experience, but a very precise way of conceiving these Cuban men.

Also, social rituals such as drinking and giving cross the three films.In the act of providing as a celebration, it is observed how the revolution is an indissoluble part of the private and friendly life of individuals.

Both Mario and Manolo are mulatto men of humble origin, and in both toast scenes, they lift glasses with their peers or with white men and the same.In a certain ..., Balmaseda and the friend played by Bobby Carcases provide for "the process".In the useless ... it provides with Cheo (Pedro Rentería) for friendship.In the work ..., Otto provides with his grandson Leo (Leonardo Gazón) for "the ghost city".In each case, Balmaseda's character summarizes in his toast the way of dialogue of each film with his reality.

These scenes also work as a catalyst so that the male character can express his feelings.Another popular macho belief is that when men get drunk they can get the best or the worst of themselves, always linked to feelings.When the reality is that alcohol is only a chemical disinhibitor, which only accelerates behaviors or ideas in human minds.

Specifically in the film directed by Julio García Espinosa, Balmaseda displaces his corporality between that of a dancer and a boxer in the ring.Both ways of moving the body would seem extreme;But they are similar, as long as they show the discipline to which the patriarchal system is subjected, even one that carries a transforming process like the Cuban.

In this film, fear appears as a unforgivable factor.In the monologue scene where Manolo confesses the infidelity of his wife, it seems that the individual project of the new man fails.

Meanwhile, in the three films that subject always ends only sentimentally.To this type of man who holds hegemonic masculinity, whether conscious or not, in each film plot they end up abandoning it.Another dramatic reinforcement of the public versus the private.His social role towards the revolutionary process is saved;But its individual role, especially the couple, is poorly filled or does not exist.

This type of role constitutes what is known today as "toxic masculinity".The term, popularized between the decades ’80 and ’90 as a form of psychological analysis, focuses mainly on the damages produced by the suppression of emotions to physical and mental health.

No hay cita, solo silencio

With the work ..., Balmaseda loads on his shoulders the spirits of these past characters, male souls that Carlos Quintela invoked in his work with him, while honored the actor himself and the directors with whom he collaborated.He had a hegemonic masculinity, but expressed differently from his previous works.

Even so, Otto construction is based on physical power.It is the only type of power that can hold, because morality does not have it.Through the house, as a private space, the characters of the useless death ... and of the work ... try to exhibit a symbolic power.Father Otto's relationship with his pet, the Benjamin fish, refers to a particular situation of the context where the film story takes place.The Electronuclear Central of Juraguá has no water, but this relationship becomes symbology of the patriarchal relationship with nature.By definition, men who are ascribed to hegemonic masculinity do not know how to love if it is not from possession.

The fear cycle comes to an end in this film.Quintela uses flatly planes of Sara Gómez's film, perhaps as a racconto, to play with the possibility that Mario and Otto are the same man.But the feeling of fear of the last leaves more questions.

What is fear?Who is afraid?To what?The dry face of a balmaseda who looks at the camera and concentrates all the strength of his performance in the gaze, leaves those questions so that each one answers them according to their deconstructive levels.

In the three films, the assembly structure is divided between the public and the private, between the social project and the individualities.Outside are the marches, the parties, the news, all elements that make up the group corpus of the patriarchal nation and that are shown through documentary images.

Inside is Balmaseda and its “fiction” characters, trying to see what role they play in that male community and how it manages to form their own concept of new man.(2021)

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