Tomás Gutiérrez Alea

  • Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – La última cena AKA The Last Supper (1976)

    1971-1980CubaDramaPoliticsTomás Gutiérrez Alea

    This scathing black comedy from Cuban satirist Tomás Gutiérrez Alea is a dish that’s bitter to taste and hard to stomach. It’s an intricate and uncompromising fable that alarmingly boasts an authentic historical model.

    In the 18th century, the wealthy owner of a sprawling Havana sugar plantation gives in to a misguided whim. As Holy Week approaches, he decides to host his own Last Supper, appointing himself as Christ and a dozen downtrodden slaves as the apostles. Held on Maundy Thursday, his re-enactment is a precarious proposition from the outset. At first, it offers Alea ample opportunity for comedy, as the pompous master cleans and flinchingly kisses the feet of the bemused slaves before taking to the table.Read More »

  • Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Hasta cierto punto AKA Up to a Certain Point (1983)

    1981-1990CubaDramaTomás Gutiérrez Alea

    Documentary filmmaker Oscar (Oscar Alvarez) is researching machismo in Cuba. He learns that the nation’s chauvinistic men have problems with strong and autonomous females and expectations that fidelity is essential for women, but not for men.
    However as the project progresses he begins to fall for his spirited colleague (Mirtha Ibarra), presenting a dilemma.
    Should he be honest about his feelings and leave his wife for this new love, and can he make an objective documentary when he is himself entwined in the issues he is studying.Read More »

  • Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – La muerte de un burócrata AKA Death of a Bureaucrat (1966)

    1961-1970ArthouseComedyCubaTomás Gutiérrez Alea

    A worker dies in an accident at his work and is buried with his union card, essential for the widow to receive a pension. To recover it, the family is forced to carry out a clandestine exhumation. The impediments of the bureaucracy make it impossible to bury the corpse again. The absurdity of the situation degenerates into violence.Read More »

  • Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Cartas del parque AKA Letters from the Park (1988)

    1981-1990ArgentinaDramaRomanceTomás Gutiérrez Alea

    Matanzas, Cuba, 1913. Two young people who are in love communicate through letters written by penman. When the young man leaves town, to become a pilot, the girl discovers she is really in love with the one who wrote the letters.Read More »

  • Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Las Doce Sillas AKA The Twelve Chairs (1962)

    1961-1970ClassicsComedyCubaTomás Gutiérrez Alea

    Plot outline from IMDB:
    When her country is taken over by socialist revolutionaries, a wealthy woman can’t bear to give up all of her wealth and possessions to the new government, so she hides all of her treasures in the 12 chairs of a dining-room set. After her death her nephew finds out what she had done and, since the chairs had been “nationalized” and are now in the possession of a dozen different people, he sets out to track them down and get the treasures he believes rightfully belong to him.Read More »

  • Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Historias de la revolución aka Stories of the Revolution (1960)

    1951-1960CubaDramaPoliticsTomás Gutiérrez Alea

    A look at the cuban revolution told from three different perspectives in
    italian neo- realist style, the first film of legendary cuban film auteur Tomás Gutiérrez Alea.

    Three vignettes about war in Cuba feature a wounded fighter, guerrilla bombardment and a funeral cortege.Read More »

  • Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – El arte del tabaco AKA The Art of Cigars (1974)

    1971-1980CubaDocumentaryShort FilmTomás Gutiérrez Alea

    This early work of master filmmaker Tomas Gutierrez Alea, captures the beauty of making cigars. Images of hands selecting tobacco leaves and rolling cigars are interspersed with graphic designs from cigar boxes and labels.Read More »

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

    1961-1970ClassicsCubaDramaTomás Gutiérrez Alea


    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 »

  • Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Guantanamera (1995)

    1991-2000ComedyCubaTomás Gutiérrez Alea

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    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.Read More »

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