A people’s court dictates that a laborer kept some tools for himself and thus deserves derision. “But, can’t we improve?” he asks, without blushing, at the moment they decide his expulsion. The story of the laborer that becomes more and more conservative runs along with another one about a conservative publicist who thinks he can foresee a solution by embracing the revolutionary cause; and what relates both reverse paths is Raúl Ruiz’s systemic pleasure for paradoxes. El realismo socialista is not a politic film but a film about politics, rough and uncomfortable in its will to demolish mythologies at the time they were being generated. These 70s Ruiz is showing are not only not glorious, but he’s also guessing they never will be, almost prophesizing the end of that (fake) utopia, all in this film that works as a parallel story to the great Palomita blanca. Oscillating between documentary record and fiction –the concept key reveals itself, or closes the film’s door, towards the end–, and with a notorious use of improvisation, Ruiz seems to confirm what he once said: “The problem with an iron script is that it gets rusty”. Continue reading
Sergio, a wealthy bourgeois aspiring writer, decides to stay in Cuba even though his wife and friends flee to Miami. Sergio looks back over the changes in Cuba, from the Castro Revolution to the missile crisis, the effect of living in an underdeveloped country, and his relations with his girlfriends Elena and Hanna. Memories of Underdevelopment is a complex character study of alienation during the turmoil of social changes. The film is told in a highly subjective point of view through a fragmented narrative that remembles the way memories function. Continue reading
In this satiric road movie from Cuba, Yoyita (Conchita Brando), a well-known singer living in Havana, travels with her niece Georgina (Mirta Ibarra), a college professor, to the village of her birth, where Yoyita is reunited with Candido (Raul Eguren), whom she loved as a young woman. When Yoyita and Candido meet for the first time in 50 years, they’re thrilled to discover that the flame of passion still burns within them; unfortunately, Yoyita is so thrilled that it gives her a heart attack, and she dies on the spot. Yoyita’s body must be transported back to Havana for burial, but while logic would dictate that Georgina should simply hire a hearse to make the journey, her husband, Adolfo (Carlos Cruz), a bureaucrat with more enthusiasm than common sense, has another idea — by transferring the body from one vehicle to another at the border of each province, the cost of fuel will be distributed more evenly along the route. No one much cares for this idea except Adolfo, but he has the law on his side, so Georgina, Candido, and Adolfo begin a long, slow journey back to Havana accompanied by truck drivers Ramon (Pedro Fernandez) and Mariano (Jorge Perugorria), who was Georgina’s student years ago. At every stop, the group meets a few of the people in each town (especially Mariano, who seems to have a girlfriend in every village in Cuba) and they share their thoughts on faith, politics, and love. Guantanamera was the final work from veteran Cuban director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea; he died before the film could be completed, so co-screenwriter Juan Carlos Tabió finished the film in his stead. Continue reading
From Amos Vogel’s Film as a Subversive Art:
A powerful attack on American racialism, based entirely on newsreel materials and closely edited by Lena Horne’s rendition of ‘Now’. Documentary shots often provide symbolic statements: in this case, flag, stick, black boy, policeman, and faceless anonymity of both generalize an event. Continue reading
Daniel, loner and hermit, is forced to give overnight shelter to Anna, his neighbor’s niece. The need for affection and human warmth of these two injured people will emerge, turning into a romance. Things get complicated when Anna’s husband appears.
Daniel, el Topo, hombre ermitaño e incomunicado, que goza de toda soledad posible. Trabaja como constructor y vive solo, su familia ha emigrado y hace tiempo no tienen contacto alguno. Sostiene una vida vacía y rutinaria, entre el trabajo y su apartamento. Un día los acontecimientos lo obligan a permanecer durante una noche completa con otra persona, una mujer.
Ana llega a la vida de Daniel por casualidad, escapando de un marido que la maltrata y golpea y la ha convertido en un ser lastimado y con necesidad de cariño. Su tío Raúl, vecino de Daniel, le pide a este dejarla dormir por una noche en su casa hasta que él pueda embarcarla hacia su pueblo natal. Continue reading
Seventh film of the retrospective, El Sueno Del Pongo(1970). Continue reading
Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic tale, Daniel Díaz Torres’s ALICE IN WONDERTOWN is both an absurdist comedy and an allegory with a dark political undercurrent. Alice is a drama teacher who goes on a cultural mission to a small town where the most bizarre occurrences are commonplace. Mirrors become doors, circus animals walk the streets, and it seems anything can happen – and everyone except Alicia seems resigned to the situation. She discovers before long that the town’s population is made up of officials and workers who have been fired for violating rules, minor or illusionary, and now cannot find their way out of this strange town.One of the most controversial films in the history of Cuba, ALICE IN WONDERTOWN was banned by government authorities from Cuban theatres shortly after its release, threatening the independence that the Cuban film industry hitherto had enjoyed. Continue reading