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

2007 2007

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Abstract (summary)

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.

Indexing (details)

Comparative literature;
Caribbean literature;
Motion pictures
0295: Comparative literature
0360: Caribbean literature
0900: Motion pictures
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Language, literature and linguistics; Animation; Cinema; Coproductions; Cuba; Diaz Torres, Daniel; Film adaptations; Gutierrez Alea, Tomas; Perez, Fernando; Post-Cold War; Socialist; Solas, Humberto; Surrealism; Tabio, Juan Carlos
Children of the socialist paradise: Redefining social and esthetic values in post Cold -War Cuban cinema
Garcia, Enrique
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 68/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Portuges, Catherine
Committee member
Ciecko, Anne; Marentes, Luis; Petroff, Elizabeth
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Comparative Literature
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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