Brattle Theatre Sun, May 1, 2016 1:00 PM
Film Info
Runtime:83 minutes
Premiere Status:World Premiere
Web Site:
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Mary Jane Doherty


Expected to be in attendance: Director Mary Jane Doherty and producer Maria Letunic

PRIMARIA follows three young dancers throughout four years of their elite elementary-ballet training program in Havana, Cuba. The children’s goal is to make it into the world-famous Ballet High School of Cuba at age 15. Alex and Arlette both come from poor families. Their mothers work, but their fathers have gone missing––a typical scenario for many contemporary Cuban families. Daniela, on the other hand, comes from relative wealth. Her family, with its deep roots in Havana’s former upper class, has the wherewithal to support her on every level. Unlike most Cuban children, Daniela is motivated to succeed for reasons beyond economic need; she simply wants to be a dancer, as a matter of identity. And she'll do whatever takes.

Director Mary Jane Doherty captures intimate moments at home, tensions during exams, antics on the playground, and frustrated teachers who are deeply invested in their students’ success. Then comes the all-critical Grade Report Day, when a single point can make or break a student’s destiny.

Like its companion film SECUNDARIA (IFFBoston 2013), PRIMARIA is a cinematic ode to the learning process, shaped around the intimate details of daily life. Whereas SECUNDARIA follows teenagers through their high school years, PRIMARIA instead focuses on the very young as they come of age in the rarefied world of Cuban ballet.

Additional Information