HAVANA – Cuban filmmaker Juan Carlos Tabío, co-director of the multi-award-winning film “Strawberry and Chocolate,” died on Monday, official institutions reported. He was 77 years old.
The official Cuban News Agency and organizations such as the National Union of Artists and Writers of Cuba (UNEAC) indicated that the death occurred at dawn, but did not specify the cause of death.
“With deep regret, we announce that Juan Carlos Tabío, a dear friend, another legend of Cuban cinema, has passed away,” said Iván Giroud, director of the New Havana Film Festival, on his Facebook account.
Known for the films of international significance “Fresa y Choclolate” (1993) and “Guantanamera” (1995), which he co-directed with the now-defunct Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Tabío also had an extensive filmography of his own with classics in Cuba.
“Fresa y Chocolate”, which stood out for challenging the taboo of gay life in Cuba and the prejudices of the revolution, was nominated for an Oscar for the best foreign language film and received awards that include the Goya of Spanish cinema and the Berlinale jury award, among others.
“Guantanamera”, a satire on life in Cuba, competed for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and received honors from the Spanish Film Writers Circle and the Sundance Film Festival.
Among Cubans Tabío was highly remembered for his comedy “Se permuta” (1985), which starred the actress Rosita Fornés and made several generations laugh and reflect.
He also directed “Plaff” (1988), “Waiting List” (2000) and “The Horn of Plenty” (2008).
“Enigmatic, modest and friendly,” Cuban screenwriter Ian Padrón (son of director Juan Padrón) described it in a Facebook post, who indicated that his works are “essential for national culture.”
Born in Havana in 1943, Tabío won the 2014 National Film Award for his career.
His remains will be cremated and it will be notified in a timely manner when and how his funeral services will be held, given that the country is experiencing movement limitations due to COVID-19, official media indicated.