Hailed as one of – if not the most – sophisticated film ever to come out of Cuba in the early days of Castro’s revolution, Memories of Underdevelopment (Memorias del subdesarollo) is visionary Cuban director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s tour de force.
Memories of Underdevelopment follows Sergio (Sergio Corrieri – Soy Cuba), through his life following the departure of his wife, parents and friends in the wake of the Bay of Pigs incident. Alone in a brave new world, Sergio observes the constant threat of foreign invasion while chasing young women all over Havana before finally meeting Elena (Daisy Granados), a young virgin girl he seeks to mould into the image of his ex-wife, but at what cost to himself?
Even though director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea was a staunch and devoted supporter of the revolution, Memories of Underdevelopment makes a raw and uncompromising analysis of the newly formed system of government. Through a moving blend of narrative fiction, still photography and rare documentary footage, Alea catalogues the intricacies of the early days of the Castro regime; producing a stirring and enigmatic work that feeds from the culture of the very subject it is studying; Cuba. –ConetemporaryFilms.com
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea came from a progressive middle-class family. Born in Havana in 1928, Alea experienced a vivid career, one closely tied to the history of his country. Fidel Castro was his classmate when he studied Law at the University of Havana, where he was already engaged in making films for the Communist Party. In 1951, he enrolled at Italy’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, one of the first international film schools. There he received exposure to films from around the world. He returned to Cuba to make the Neorealism-influenced El Megano; a film about the exploitation of charcoal burners. The film was seized by the authorities of Fulgencio Batista’s government after a screening at the University campus. In the years leading to the Cuban Revolution, Alea was employed making short documentaries for Television. Upon Castro’s victory, Alea was placed in charge of building Cuba’s national film institute – ICAIC (The Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry). read more
Made 1968??? So much depth, so much inter-textuality. I love the sarcastic illumination of the bourgeois viewpoint = blindside: "I tried to change Elena...she doesn't see me." :-) I feel in the same boat (might be my mid-life crises as a trying-hard bourgeois, hehehe!) Another gem: "The words you are using are sick language traps, accessories of an already wasted culture." Am I wrong of thinking of Camus at times?
"Memórias do subdesenvolvimento" mostra como ainda vivemos sob o signo criador do cinema 60's! Inteligente e intrigante, quebra a fronteira (cada dia mais) tênue entre ficção e documentário, propondo uma ambiguidade narrativa pouco vista. O estado de transe/transição em que vive o protagonista na Cuba pós-revolução socialista reflete bem o papel do filme no contexto latino-americano: fizemos da fome nossa salvação!