Skip to Gallatin Navigation Skip to Gallatin Main Content

Culture and Politics: An Exploration of Cuban Cinema Since the 1959 Revolution

Semester and Year SP 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1906
Section 001
Instructor Valerie Forman
Days R
Time 3:30 PM - 7:35 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM, GLOBAL



In this course we will explore the rich and complex cinematic tradition that has developed in Cuba since the Revolution. Our particular focus will be on the conversation between the films and social and political life in Cuba. Some questions that will guide our investigation follow: if the implementation of the Revolution required a new way of imagining one’s political, social, and economic self in relation to one’s larger community, what was cinema’s role in that imagination? How has Cuban cinema negotiated complex issues surrounding shifting socio-economic practices: for example, the radical increase in the number of women in the workforce; declarations of racial equality; and housing shortages? How did Cuban Cinema continue to provide a form and forum for debate about Cuba’s role in the world: for example, the US Embargo/Blockade, the war in Angola, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the influx of foreign tourists that began in the 1990s? We will view a wide range of filmic genres and forms: newsreels, documentaries, narrative features, as well as recent short and feature length films produced with new technology. We will also attend the screening of at least one film at the 18th Annual Havana Film Festival New York. In addition to weekly film viewings, readings about Cuban economic, social, and political life will be central to the course and will contribute to our understanding of the many changes that have taken place in Cuban culture and politics in the past fifty-seven years. Some likely texts and films for the course include: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea,  Memories of Underdevelopment ; Sara Gómez,  One Way or Another ; Humberto Solás,  Lucia ; Fernando Pérez,  Life is to Whistle  (1998); Ernesto Darnas,  Behavior ; Gloria Rolando , Breaking the Silence;  Channan,  Cuban Cinema ; Ann Marie Stock,  On Location in Cuba: Street Filmmaking during Times of Transition. 


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)