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  • Memories of Underdevelopment - (Mr Bongo Films) (1968) [DVD]
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Memories of Underdevelopment - (Mr Bongo Films) (1968) [DVD]


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Memories of Underdevelopment - (Mr Bongo Films) (1968) [DVD] + Lucía - (Mr Bongo Films) (1968) [DVD] + Strawberry & Chocolate (Fresa y Chocolate) [DVD] [1994]
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Product details

  • Directors: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Mr Bongo Films
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Oct. 2008
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001L2SA5I
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,487 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

In a newly formed society driven by collective effort, the extended solipsism engaged by Sergio (Sergio Correri - I Am Cuba) allows him a paradoxical perspective. Like Dostoevsky's Underground Man, he is an acute observer of people, in a society he is himself utterly alienated from. Through Sergio, Memories of Underdevelopment chronicles a specific historical moment: situated between the Bay of Pigs invasions of April 1961 to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Sergio's family joins the mass exodus to Miami in the wake of the revolution. Choosing to remain behind, Sergio passes his time in frivolous womanizing despite being haunted by the notion of underdevelopment : the consciousness of a wealthy man in a nation beset by poverty.

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea became a shining star of Cuban cinema as a result of the commercial and critical success of Memories of Underdevelopment. Influenced by John Cassavetes and Alain Resnais, Alea fashioned a unique approach to film grammar which dissolved the lines between drama, documentary, essay and newsreel. Its legacy as a classic of world cinema is testified by its inclusion in Derek Malcolm's 100 greatest films of the 20th Century.

Review

Memories of Underdevelopment is the best example of the creative and original cinema coming out of Cuba in the mid-1960s --Socialist Review

The eventual worldwide recognition of Underdevelopment as one of Cuba's finest films speaks as much for the frozen moment it captures as for its unimpeachable quality --L.A. Weekly

The result is hugely effective and moving, and it is complete in the way that very few movies ever are --New York Times

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richard Brzostek on 19 Mar. 2009
Format: DVD
Memories of Under Development is a movie about a man named Sergio who is recently divorced. It tells us his story but also the story of his country Cuba. It goes back and forth between these two, illuminating us on the story of how the people he knows in Cuba are "underdeveloped" and how the country itself, made up of such people, is in a way "underdeveloped" too. Even with that said it isn't a harsh critic of people but more of a mild one and perhaps a bit of self-criticism as well.

Sergio thinks most of the people he knows are underdeveloped. His ex-wife and parents have left Cuba to go to the United States, and he doesn't mind, in fact he nearly pities them and this movie shows us why. He is artistic and thinks of himself as Europeanized, thus more advanced than others on some level but he doesn't gloat about it or show off. Sergio is a little cynical but maybe he is realistic also. Best if all, at times he is very funny.

The film mixes video footage and still photography that tells us about Cuba and life there. It sheds light on how the country was influenced by Spain, the United States and the Soviet Union. One has to also give it some credit as the film doesn't create an entirely a rosy portrait of the Cuban government under Castro and shows how the wealthy had their property confiscated.

The way the story in Memories of Under Development blends personal history with the history of a country works well. If you enjoy art house films or have interest in learning about Cuba, I would say it is worth checking out Memories of Under Development.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Jun. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A complex film both politically and psychologically. A bourgeois man decides to stay in post-revolutionary Cuba, even when his wife and family leave. He's detached and alienated from the revolution around him, from women, but also from his own shallow, old materialistic existence.

-- very mild, general spoiler ahead --

The film uses lots of brave, experimental and sophisticated visual techniques (sudden cuts to still photos, super long lens shots, handheld shots, intercutting news footage with staged), and almost all of it works towards making a fascinating whole. My only problem is that -- for me -- the experience is almost totally an intellectual one. I had very little emotional response during most of the film, although the last section, with the Cuban Missile Crisis looming has some real power.

Note that most critics I respect see this as a flat out masterpiece, so I could have missed something, and would be willing to give it a second look.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mister C on 8 April 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An absolutely stunning film all round. Funny, clever, well-paced and offering an interesting critique of the role of the intellectual in the Cuban revolution. Stylistically you can file this next to any number of films from the Nouvelle Vague and many other neorealism-influenced styles. Quality-wise, you can file it with the very best - fans of Truffaut and Godard in particular will thoroughly enjoy this.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Rolfe on 2 Dec. 2008
Format: DVD
This film with its looming dark and somber mood was for me a masterpiece of early cinema and a brilliant cultural example of early fifties Cuba with its political overthrow casting a shadow over the unfolding tale of Sergio(played by Sergio Corrieri), whose life full of hardships and loss.
As the film goes on he meets the beautiful Elena and their torturous romance for me was a contrasting parallel of the cultural struggle happening around them at that time.
Cuba, its country torn in two by the revolution is the scene in which this passionate romance is set. The heavy feeling of loss lurks over the whole story like a fog, and the collapse of the country around them seeps into the story line and gives a fairly ominous feeling.
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea' amazing accomplishment is evident in this stunning example of world cinema at its best.
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