HGFF presents: Conducta – Who is Chala?

As part of our run-up to the festival, we will be writing about our favourite aspects of the films being screened. We have already written about Conducta, but because it is the UK premier and it is the most anticipated film, we have decided to write about another actor who starred in the film.

Conducta was one of the most successful films in Cuban history. Part of the reasoning for this was because the film dealt with certain issues that had never been portrayed in Cuban cinema before. The film follows a boy named Chala who has a very rough childhood and is left to fend for himself. His elderly teacher tries to help him as much as she can, but is challenged by the new head teacher who wants to send Chala away to a re-education facility.

The film deals with complicated subjects such as drug abuse, poverty and the desperation to get out of it, and the general struggles of life in Cuba. Chala, played by Armando Valdes Freire, was a unique Cuban character. The Havana-born actor was just 14 years old when he appeared in Conducta, but his performance was widely praised. Since appearing in this film last year, he has not gone on to any other projects. However, he plans on going to study at the National School of Art.

He was picked from 7,000 children to play the challenging role of Chala in Conducta. In the months before shooting began, Armando had to learn how to swim and also had boxing lessons in preparation for his role.

Armando’s performance in Conducta is one of the greatest aspects of the film. We at the festival cannot wait for you to see it! Conducta’s UK premier is on Thursday 5 November at the Glasgow Film Theatre at 8.30pm.