Retrospective: PAVEL GIROUD

As it is a tradition for more than a decade, VLAFF dedicates a retrospective to a figure of Latin American cinema. In past years, VLAFF has dedicated this retrospective to the Brazilian director ANNA MUYLAERT, to the Chilean actress MANUELA MARTELLI, to the Argentine screenwriter ANDRES DUPRAT, among many others. This year, in addition to having a focus on Cuban cinema, we will have a retrospective on the Cuban director and screenwriter PAVEL GIROUD.

VLAFF’s relationship with Pavel Giroud‘s cinema goes back more than 17 years, when we presented Pavel’s first feature film, THE SILLY AGE (LA EDAD DE LA PESETA), in 2007. On that occasion, the film’s editor, Lester Hamlet, visited us in Vancouver to present the film. Years later, in 2016, when VLAFF started a series of films related to music, we presented PLAYING LECUONA, co-directed by Pavel and the Canarian director Juan Manuel Villar.

For the 21st edition of VLAFF it is an honour to welcome PAVEL GIROUD to present three of his most significant works, and although this is not a complete retrospective, it is a way to get to know the work -and the country- of one of the most active Cuban auteurs today. Pavel Giroud is the director of a very diverse cinema, distinctly Cuban. As it is very difficult for foreigners to place themselves in such a complex society, difficult to understand if they do not live in it, Pavel’s cinema is therefore a precise, inside look at that Caribbean island so enigmatic for those of us who live in the North.

For the 21st edition of VLAFF it is an honour to welcome Cuban director and screenwriter
PAVEL GIROUD to present three of his most significant works.

With director Pavel Giroud in attendance, VLAFF will screen THE SILLY AGE, THE COMPANION, and his most recent feature documentary, THE PADILLA AFFAIR, a must-see film for Cuban history lovers which premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival and has screened at many prestigious film festivals around the world such as at Telluride and San Sebastián, among others.



Wednesday, Sept 13 at 8:15 PM
The Cinematheque


Dir. Pavel Giroud | Cuba, 2022
Spanish and French with English subtitles | 78 min | Documentary

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 centrepiece 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.


Wednesday, Sept 13 at 5:30 PM
The Cinematheque

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to a technical difficulty with the print, PLAYING LECOUNA has beed replaced by a free screening of The Silly Age.


Dir. Pavel Giroud | Cuba/Spain, 2006
Spanish with English subtitles | 90 min | Drama

In 1950’s Havana, in the moment before the Revolution, ten-year-old Samuel and his recently divorced mother arrive in town and move into the home of his difficult and eccentric grandmother Violeta (Mercedes Sampietro). In this quirky yet fascinating coming-of-age film, Giroud cleverly uses the melodrama genre to disclose family friction and fissures in pre-Castro Cuban society by focusing on a small dysfunctional middle-class family.

NOTE: This trailer does not have subtitles in English, but the screening will have subtitles.

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Thursday, Sept 14 at 5:30 PM
The Cinematheque


Dir. Pavel Giroud | Cuba, 2015
Spanish with English subtitles | 104 min | Drama

Cuba 1988. The government dispatches AIDS patients to sanatoriums under military rule. An unlikely friendship emerges between Horacio Romero, a disgraced boxing champion who fails a drug test and must serve as a “companion” (an euphemism for warden), and Daniel, a conflictive patient who is determined to spend his last days in freedom.

Director Pavel Giroud talks with VLAFF’s Programming Director Christian Sida Valenzuela