Kino Eye: Films from Cuba

Submitted by AWL on 9 February, 2021 - 6:42 Author: John Cunningham
Memories of Underdevelopment

Recent Solidarity articles on Cuba bring to mind the visually stunning film I Am Cuba (1964) directed by Soviet cinematographer Mikhail Kalatazov and Tomás Gutierrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment (1968). Alea’s film is no Castroite propaganda piece, but instead a measured study of the growing alienation of Sergio, a wealthy bourgeois intellectual who, unlike his family, has not fled Cuba. He stays behind not from any commitment to the revolution, but because of sheer inertia. Sergio wanders around aimlessly but cannot make up his mind what to do. Documentary footage shows the CIA-led Bay of Pigs attempted invasion in 1961 and other moments in Cuban history which contrast with Sergio’s voice-over, his comments on the changing world around him, and his inability to find a place within it.

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