Cinema of Cuba

“Cinema arrived in Cuba at the beginning of the 20th century. Before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, about 80 full-length films were produced in Cuba. Most of these films were melodramas. Following the revolution, Cuba entered what is considered the ‘Golden age’ of Cuban cinema. … Before the Cuban Revolution of 1959 the total film production was around 80 full-length movies. Some films are worth mentioning, such as La Virgen de la Caridad starring Miguel Santos and Romance del Palmar by Ramón Peón. Many famous people from the continent came to the island to film, and some leading Cuban actors had a strong presence mainly in Mexico and Argentina. Musicians such as Ernesto Lecuona, Bola de Nieve or Rita Montaner also performed and composed for movies in several countries. In the first days of 1959, the new government created a cinematographic department within the Dirección de Cultura del Ejército Rebelde (Culture Division of the Rebel Army), which sponsored the production of documentaries such as Esta tierra nuestra by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, and La vivienda by Julio García Espinosa. This was the direct ancestor of what would eventually become the Instituto Cubano del Arte y la Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC), which was founded in March as a result of the first culture law of the revolutionary government. Film, according to this law, is ‘the most powerful and provocative form of artistic expression, and the most direct and widespread vehicle for education and bringing ideas to the public.’ The ICAIC founded Cine Cubano in 1960. … Under his direction, the organization was pivotal in the development of Cuban cinema which came to be identified with anti-imperialism and revolution. The first ten years of the institution were called by critics the Golden Age (Década de Oro) of Cuban cinema, most of all because of the making of Lucía (1969) by Humberto Solás and Memorias del subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment) (1968) by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. These two directors are often regarded as the best film directors to have come out of Cuba. Memorias del subdesarrollo was selected among the best 100 films of all times by the International Federation of Film Clubs. One of the most prolific and strong branches of the Cuban cinema in the last 40 years has been documentaries and short-films. The documentary Now (1965) by Santiago Álvarez is often considered the first video clip in history. …”
WALKER: How Are Revolutionary Cuban Films Still Revolutionary Today?
Guardian: The reality behind the revolution
Art, revolution and the ‘Golden Age of the Cuban Poster’
BAM – Cuba: Golden 60s

I Am Cuba, 1964

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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