One of the first Cuban films to achieve significant success abroad, and the first post-revolution Cuban film to be released theatrically in America, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s intimate and densely layered Memories of Underdevelopment is a landmark work of the country’s cinema.
“This audacious, sensual portrait of an alienated intellectual in Castro’s Cuba is one of the great movies of the sixties.” – Michael Sragow, New Yorker
Left behind by his wife and family in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, the bourgeois intellectual Sergio (Sergio Corrieri) passes his days wandering Havana and idly reflecting, his amorous entanglements and political ambivalence gradually giving way to a mounting sense of alienation. With this adaptation of an innovative novel by Edmundo Desnoes, Gutiérrez Alea developed a cinematic style as radical as the times he was chronicling, creating a collage of vivid impressions through the use of experimental, New Wave-inspired editing techniques, archival material, and spontaneously shot street scenes. Appearing on the fiftieth anniversary of its release in a stunning new digital restoration, Memories stands as a biting indictment of its protagonist’s disengagement, and an extraordinary glimpse of life in post-revolutionary Havana. (Dir. by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1968, Cuba, in Spanish and English with English subtitles, 98 mins., Not Rated)