Manuel Octavio Gómez

Manuel Octavio Gómez – La primera carga al machete AKA The First Charge of the Machete (1969)

From Amos Vogel’s Film as a Subversive Art:
Possibly the most ‘aesthetic’ and ‘experimental’ of revolutionary Cuba’s films, this outstanding work utilizes high-contrast photography, over-exposure, and solarization to create the faded chiaroscuro and poetic authenticity of the period it depicts. The film deals with an 1870 uprising against the Spanish occupation troops in Cuba, in which the machete, originally used to cut sugar cane, becomes a weapon of the people’s warfare. The portrayals of decadent upper classes and heroic peasants are sharp and incisive, and distancing devices – such as characters addressing the camera – are used to induce attitudes of analysis instead of involvement. The emergence of such a strongly poetic work within the Cuban film industry testifies to the divergent aesthetic tendencies permitted expression within the revolution. Read More »