Cuba is currently in the midst of change. Big change. Longtime dictator Fidel Castro is dead and the United States’ embargo on the island country is over. As a result of this half century distance, much of the country is poor. Yes the country, visually, appears to be preserved almost like it was in the ’50s, but the much of Cuba lives in deep poverty. Naturally, people look to escape the abysmal reality of everyday life; for Yojani Perez, that escape is through skateboarding.
At the heart of the tale is community, where Perez professes the tight-knit camaraderie that has cultivated around skateboarding.
In a film titled El Ritual, directed by Ivan Olita, Perez takes us through the capital city of Havana. The video is overlaid to a custom score that is reminiscent of the thundering horns of John Coltrane. Perez takes you on a journey opening up about this incessant change that is all at once taking place in Cuba. At the heart of the tale is community, where Perez professes the tight-knit camaraderie that has cultivated around skateboarding. The film is truly beautiful, in that as Perez narrates, you really feel like you’re skating along the Havana native.
Once you’ve finished peeping the video, be sure to check out the rest of Ivan Olita’s impressive work.