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Children of the socialist paradise: Redefining social and esthetic values in post Cold -War Cuban cinema

Enrique Garcia, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Abstract

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuban filmmakers had to rethink the socialist values and esthetics developed in Cuba after the revolution of 1959. A number of these precepts, encapsulated in Julio García Espinosa's 1965 manifesto "For an Imperfect Cinema," had been influential in both Cuban filmmaking and Latin America's socialist cinema in general. As a consequence of capitalist globalization, many of these cultural concepts had to be reinvented for a new, more skeptical era disinclined to romanticize their legacy. ^ This dissertation opens a discussion of the heritage of Cuban cinema in Latin American culture through an examination of the post-Soviet production of Cuban filmmakers working within the framework of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC). An analysis of the films of Daniel Díaz Torres, Juan Carlos Tabío, Tomás Gutíerrez Alea, Humberto Solás, and Fernando Pérez traces these directors' struggle to create a new film vocabulary that depicts more accurately Cuban reality while remaining committed to revolutionary ideals. Further, the dissertation examines the reconstruction of history through the epic film adaptation of Alejo Carpentier's El siglo de las luces, and through Juan Padrón's animated features. It then reflects on issues of gender, auteurism, and superstardom centered on the persona of actor Jorge Perrugoría, as it speculates on the new path that Cuban cinema may follow in the 21st century with the new system of coproductions with countries such as Spain and Germany. ^ In order to explore the changes in the Cuban film industry outlined above, I deconstruct the cultural and visual language developed by the Revolution. Drawing on the ideas of major schools of criticism such as Structuralism, Post-Modernism, Marxism, and Post-Colonialism, I prove that, while Marxist legacy is an essential part of the island's heritage, the multiethnic nature of Cuban culture is too complex to be limited or reduced to a single philosophy. This supports my argument that the Revolution's survival and finding its new place in the international community depends in part on an evolution from its original precepts, including an open dialogue with the other aspects of Cuban reality that constitute the fabric of the island's society. ^

Subject Area

Comparative literature|Caribbean literature|Film studies

Recommended Citation

Garcia, Enrique, "Children of the socialist paradise: Redefining social and esthetic values in post Cold -War Cuban cinema" (2007). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3289238.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI3289238

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