Film Criticism as Political Performance during the Cold War
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Table of Contents
Throughout my life I have claimed several political identities. The first one was leftism or socialism or communism. At the time, I was not quite clear on the difference. Growing up in Mexico, I needed to break with my traditional upbringing and developed...
The venue for the first Festival of Cuban Film in the United States was the Olympia Theatre in New York City where, from March 24 to April 2, 1972, seven feature films and fifteen documentaries, all of which had received international prizes and acclaim...
PART I: Staging Film Criticism: The Cuban and American Historical and Political Backgrounds
1. Cuban Culture, Institutions, Policies, and Citizens
In 1955, Italian neorealism entered full force in the political culture of Cuba. In that year, the young filmmaker Julio García Espinosa directed El Megano, a documentary that denounced the living conditions of charcoal burners in the Zapata Swamps region...
2. The Cuban Revolutionary Hermeneutics: Criticism and Citizenship
U.S. film dominated Cuban screens before 1959. This changed with the advent of the revolution. With Cuba moving away from capitalism and from American cultural products, Cuban movie theaters, to great box-office success, began substituting Hollywood...
3. The U.S. Field of Culture
A huge historic fluke frames the reception of Cuban film in the United States, a fluke that gives significance to this chapter and this book. The Cuban Revolution coincided with the sixties in America, and just as the revolution shaped the culture of criticism in Cuba...
4. U.S. Criticism, Dissent, and Hermeneutics
The rise of foreign film distribution and art house exhibition during the 1950s onward helped constitute the field of professional film criticism in America. By the 1970s and 1980s, the decades in which the Cuban films were reviewed, criticism had a defined place in the field of...
PART II: Performing Film Criticism
5. Memories of Underdevelopment
Memorias del Subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment, 1968), directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, develops in Havana in 1961, at a time when the nation was undergoing profound changes and just before the Missile Crisis. Sergio, an educated, middle-...
Lucia (Lucía, 1968, d. Humberto Solás) is composed of three stories of three women named Lucia. “Lucia 1895” narrates the story of a wealthy, single, white, sexually conservative Cuban woman in 1895, at a time when Cubans were engaged in a war for independence...
7. One Way or Another
De Cierta Manera (One Way or Another, 1977), directed by Sara Gómez, extensively mixes a fictional narrative with documentary footage and the lives of real Cubans. The narrative, which develops at the beginning of the revolution, tells the story of Mario and...
8. Portrait of Teresa
Retrato de Teresa (Portrait of Teresa, 1979), directed by Pastor Vega, narrates the story of Teresa, a textile worker, wife, and mother of three, whose political and work commitments produce a rift between her and her husband, Ramón. He becomes increasingly resentful...
Conclusion: Film Criticism in Cuba and the United States
The goal of this study has been to understand the politicized critical reception of Memories of Underdevelopment, Lucia, One Way or Another, and Portrait of Teresa in two national/cultural contexts (Cuba and the United States) and relate this reception to the performance...
Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2010
OCLC Number: 709664706
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