50 Years of the Cuban Revolution

1993
  |  503 min
Rated TBC by the BBFC

Synopsis

Set of four Cuban films marking 50 years since the Cuban Revolution. The first film, 'Lucia' (1968), is set out in three parts and traces the stories of three women in different periods of Cuban history, all of them called Lucia. In the first episode, Lucia (Raquel Revuleta) leaves her husband to join the war of independence from Spain in the late 19th century - and soon meets a handsome young revolutionary. In the second episode, set in the 1930s, Lucia (Eslinda Nunez) is a divorced single mother who becomes involved with overthrowing the corrupt dictator of Cuba. The third episode takes place in the 1960s, after Castro has come to power. It follows the story of free-spirited Lucia (Adela Legra), who is oppressed by her bullying husband but finally manages to break free of the ties that bind her. The second film, 'I Am Cuba' (1965), was directed by legendary filmmaker Mikhail Kalatozov during 1963-4 and contains four short stories detailing the rise of the revolution in Cuba. It describes the decadence of Batista's Havana and the grinding poverty and oppression of the Cuban people. The third film, 'Memories of Underdevelopment' (1968), is a drama set in the post-revolution Cuba of the 1960s. Content to stay behind after his wife and family leave for the US following the Bay of Pigs invasion, Sergio (Sergio Correri) resumes his life, sceptical of the claims made by the government for Cuba's future. Fascinated by women, he soon hooks up with Elena (Daisy Granados), whose youth transfixes him for a period, until he decides to move on to his next conquest. After being dragged through the courts by Elena's family, who accuse him of rape, Sergio finally wins his freedom. Now in a more reflective mood after his ordeal, he considers what implications the emerging Cuban missile crisis will have for both himself and the island's future. The fourth film, 'Strawberry and Chocolate' (1994), is the first film from Cuba with a gay perspective and critical of the Castro regime. This is a heart-warming story about solidarity between two very different people. David (Vladimir Cruz) is an uptight macho communist student at Havana University, who, shortly after splitting from his girlfriend, meets Diego (Jorge Perugorria), an extravagant gay artist with an irreverent attitude to Castro. Appalled by Diego's disrespectful attitude, David decides that it is his duty to convert him, and a friendship is born. Using attitudes towards homosexuality as an example of intolerance and bigotry, the film aims to encourage an understanding of the conflicts which emerge from a politically changing nation.