T. it.: I sopravvissuti. T. int.: The Survivors. Sog.: liberamente ispirato al racconto Estatuas sepultadas di Benítez Rojo. Scen.: Tomás Gutiérrez Aléa, Antonio Benítez Rojo. F.: Mario García Joya. M.: Nelson Rodríguez. Scgf.: José Manuel Villa. Mus.: Leo Brouwer. Int.: Enrique Santisteban (Sebastián Orozco), Juanita Caldevilla (Doña Lola), Germán Pinelli (Pascual Orozco), Ana Viña (Fina Orozco), Reynaldo Miravalles (Vicente Cuervo), Vicente Revuelta (Julio Orozco), Leonor Borrero (Cuca). Prod.: ICAIC. DCP. D: 108’. Col.
It really did seem that 1978 was going to be the year to normalize relations with the United States. It was, however, also the year that Cuba and the Soviet Union signed the most important commercial agreement in the history of their economic relationship, while the presence of Cuban troops in Africa continued to grow. As for the ICAIC, it experienced problems related to the economic difficulty of the country and its hierarchies. That year Aléa was busy on the set of Los sobrevivientes, a comedy that depicts the anxieties about Cuba’s socioeconomic structure, a theme the filmmaker had explored in his previous works. In this new film, however, it took a turn for the absurd: to film the Marxist theory of social development, but backwards. The director explained his idea as “if productive forces decreased instead of evolving, a socioeconomic inversion would be created. I wanted to create a metaphor of this mechanism by using a bourgeois family stuck inside the Revolution. It goes from capitalism to a state of savagery”. Of note is Aléa’s collaboration with the composer Leo Brouwer, who worked in a new way with the director so that the music would be an integral part of the audio-visual language and on equal standing with the photography and directing, in order to create a truly collective work. Los sobrevivientes is loosely based on Benítez Rojo’s Estatuas sepultadas; the theme of imprisonment, reminiscent of The Exterminating Angel, and the black humour veering into grotesque targeting the complicity of the viewer more than a cheap laugh make it a tribute to Luis Buñuel, a filmmaker that Titón (Aléa) particularly admired.
Juan Antonio García Borrero, Hasta cierto Titón, Editorial Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, forthcoming publication