Ernesto Caparrós

Sog., Scen.: Rafael Barros. F.: Ricardo Delgado. M.: E.C. Oliver. Scgf.: Nono Noriega. Mus.: Alfredo Brito, Guerra y Blanco. Int.: Lolita Berrio (doña Carlota), Humberto de Dios (Rolando), Pepe del Campo (il sindaco), Julito Díaz (il tesoriere del municipio), Elsa Arnaiz (Georgina), Federico Piñero (Matías Reboredo), Armando Finzi (lo scultore). Prod.: P.I.C.A. (Piñero y Caparrós). Dvd. D.: 85’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

After making La serpiente roja (1937), the first Cuban feature-length sound film, and Prófugos (1940), pioneer of Cuban cinema Ernesto Caparrós directed Yo soy el héroe. With hardly any money and an original screenplay by Rafael Barros, Caparrós made the movie thanks to the support of Federico Piñero, who figures here as a producer for the first time and had to put up his assets as collateral. With the addition of the actor’s fame, the P.I.C.A. (Piñero y Caparrós) production was approved for a credit line and received some cash for paying off expenses.
Music is a typical feature of pre-revolutionary Cuban film and is not missing from this movie’s list of ingredients. Its presence is a bit forced with a series of scenes set in cabarets, bars, nightclubs or Afro-Cuban folkloric ceremonies, but Caparrós deftly transforms it into an exciting and engaging rhythm in a film that has been underestimated for years.
Yo soy el héroe is a comedy in the same class as Mexican, Argentine and Spanish film of the time, with a succession of genius situations, solid dialogue and welldelineated main and supporting characters. Social criticism is also present. The beginning scene in which the natives capture Matías – set in an imaginary place in Africa called Tururilandia – employs the caricatural cliché of indigenous people being ignorant, expressing themselves here only with the phrase “Tururí ñán ñán”. The distributor, Vicente Bernades of Exclusivas Ultra Films, presented the picture to potential foreign buyers as follows: “Yo soy el héroe is a farce with two outstanding features: lively action and witty dialogue; a film in which you can hear popular Cuban music in all its splendor and tradition. Sidesplitting laughter, humor, irony, good taste and so much more in Yo soy el héroe, the movie that will fill theaters in all Spanish-speaking countries”.

Luciano Castillo

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