'68 and beyond - Phillippines, Cuba Season
H. Solas, 1968, Cuba, 159m, b&w, Spanish w/ English subtitles
Wed 10 October // 20:00 / Cinema
Narrated in three segments, each focused on a woman named Lucia, the film outlines the history of modern Cuba. The 1895 segment transpires in Havana’s aristocracy against the backdrop of the Spanish-American war where Lucia (Raquel Revuelta) compromises her family’s support for Cuban independence when she falls in love with a Spanish gentleman. In the 1930s, an educated middle-class Lucia (Eslinda Núñez - Memories of Underdevelopment) works in a factory while secretly engaged in a romance with an underground freedom fighter opposing the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado. In the 1960s, set in Castro’s Cuba, an illiterate peasant girl named Lucia (Adela Legrá) participates in the literacy drive aimed to spread education among the rural poor. Her self-emancipation is thwarted by her husband who, despite the revolution, remains bound by outdated notions of machismo.
Seeking what he describes as “a coherent, lucid, and dignified appreciation of our national past”, Humberto Solás created a new genre of historical melodramas in Cuban cinema. Lucía was his greatest success, beloved in Cuba and acknowledged as a powerful achievement internationally, gaining a Gold Medal at the Moscow Film Festival of 1969. The battles sequences have been compared to the great ferocity of Orson Welles "Chimes At Midnight". The use of extreme close ups and long shots anticipates the works of Sergio Leone.
"Spanning nearly 70 years of Cuban history, this extraordinary movie focuses on three generations of women whose lives reflect the society around them” New York Times
"One of the great films of Cuban cinema" Channel 4
"Lucia was a tour de force... extraordinary" The Guardian
Screened with the support of the BFI Film Audience Network as part of the Uprising! The Spirit of '68 season