- It is fascinating that the two words in the title “Memories” and “Underdevelopment” describe the two distinct facets of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s work. You can draw a direct line between Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) and the “memories” portion of this film. Hiroshima is clearly a massive influence- that’s half the film. The other half is a documentary blending – a sort of essay film- on early 1960’s Cuba.
- Handheld camera at the club opening- a freeze on the final shot of the opening credits
- Splice editing remember his wife and a past lover without dialogue—Resnais’ influence
- Documentary footage at the airport, handheld camera—a burned down part of the city, strangers (non-actors) on the street
- Voice-over, and a freeze of actor Sergio Corrieri (playing “Sergio”) as he walks down the street
- Thought-provoking as a historical work- analytical study—but there are segments like watching a round-table debate (albeit a good one) for quite a spell
A blend of flashbacks (again Hiroshima Mon Amour—Resnais work would influence 1969’s Midnight Cowboy the following year as well), doc footage— Sergio watching television: Marilyn Monroe, Fidel Castro, Brigitte Bardot (below)– starvation of children photos and stats and then the next minute we get the surrealism illicit baptism scene. Sergio is an intellectual who chases women and watches (and is a bit of a parasite) as the country changes. A study of alienation
- It gets a little messy formally- there are titles of the characters—people in his life—as they are introduced. These work as sort of chapters for the first 30-minutes, but they stop. We get a specific day and date later for the first time.
- If Resnais groundbreaking film is about two lovers, two cities, two stories— this is that in singular
- Highly Recommend top 10 of the year quality film
Out of curiosity, how did you come to this movie? i mean how did you find out.
I love Hiroshima so i am seeing this, 2 pending films, this and Vitalina Varela.
@Aldo- hmmm not entirely sure what you mean– you mean how did I learn about it in the first place to be made aware of it?
Yes, how do you discover these great movies that hardly anyone has heard of?
@Aldo- yeah it sort of depends– but usually TSPDT or Sight and Sound as a starting point. But I have my own lists from books I’ve read or articles I’ve seen— just a collection of things after 20 years.
@Drake Were you aware of this one before we saw it in World Cinema way, way, way back in the day?
@Matt Harris– haha— is that where I first saw it?
@Matt Harris– I was not. I don’t think the internet was invented yet for TSPDT.
@Aldo- I’m not Drake but I’ll just say Criterion’s released on blu-ray, and it’s streaming on their Channel, as well. It’s also ranked a respectable 259 on TSPDT. Great film by the way.
It was also on the 2012 Sight & Sound poll at 144th of all time.
@Drake-Have you seen the other Cuban film Criterion’s recently released, Lucia? It’s just as great as Memories of Underdevelopment in my opinion.
@Remy- thanks for the recommendation. I have not yet seen Lucia
Here’s my piece on this brilliant film:
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