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Cuba

Alfredo Ureta – La guarida del topo (2011)

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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.

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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. Read More »

Daniel Díaz Torres – Alice in Wondertown AKA Alicia en el pueblo de Maravillas (1991)

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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. Read More »

Sara Gómez – De cierta manera AKA One Way or Another (1977)

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Here is a revolutionary film: dialectical in form and content, humble in the face of real human experience, proposing no final answers except the unending struggle of a people to make something out of what history has made of them. De cierta manera is that powerful hybrid—the fictional documentary set to a tropical beat—for which the cinema of revolutionary Cuba is justifiably famous. In this instance, the documentary deals with the destruction of slum housing and the struggle against the culture of marginality generated in such slums through the creation of a new housing project (Miraflores) and an accompanying educational program. The fictional embodiment of this historical process is seen in the clash of attitudes between Mario (a product of the slums), his lover Yolanda (a teacher who has come to Miraflores to help integrate such marginal elements into the revolution), and his friend Humberto (a fun-loving slacker). In the course of telling these stories, and others, De cierta manera demolishes the categories of fiction and documentary, insisting that both forms are equally mediated by the intention of the filmmaker, and that both thus require a critical stance. Read More »

Sara Gómez – Fábrica de tabacos (1962)

Documentary short film that shows the manufacturing process of Cuban cigars.
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Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt – Havana Motor Club (2015)

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Reforms have offered opportunity in Cuba but the children of the Revolution are unsure of the best route forward. For a half-dozen drag racers, this means last-minute changes to their beloved American muscle cars, as they prepare for the first sanctioned race in Cuba since 1960. Punctuated by a lively Cuban soundtrack, Havana Motor Club offers a fascinating glimpse at the resilience and ingenuity of the competitive spirit. Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – El realismo socialista AKA Socialist Realism (1973)

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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”. Read More »

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Memorias del subdesarrollo AKA Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)

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Plot Synopsis
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. Read More »