- 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: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B001L2SA5I
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,177 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Memories of Underdevelopment - (Mr Bongo Films) (1968) [DVD]
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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.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
-- 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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A challenging slice of post-revolutionary complexity which is never ever agitprop but, in its 'collage' elements at least, a comment on the contradictions and dangers of the world... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mario
One of the few films on how the Cuban Revolution affected ordinary people.Published on 15 Sept. 2014 by Eric M Stein