The first Cuban feature film directed by a woman and the last directed by Sara Gómez (1942-1974). Shot in the early 1970s in an outlying neighbourhood of Havana, the movie is more of a docudrama than a fiction film, combining elements of educational, ethnographic and investigative cinema. The movie revolves around the love story between Yolanda and Mario, who come from different socio-economic backgrounds and meet during the height of the transformations triggered by the Cuban Revolution. Standards of living – work, housing, nutrition and education – were just a few of the complex issues the new regime had to deal with. In De cierta manera, as in all of her work, Gómez explores other problems, including dismantling the legacy of a racist, sexist and “underdeveloped” colonial society (to use the words of Gutiérrez Alea) as a necessary condition for making the new man a reality.
The 1970s were not an easy period for Cuban culture. The regime’s Sovietization and the advent of the quinquenio gris engendered censorship and purges that especially affected institutions such as the Casa de las Américas and the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industrias Cinematográficos (ICAIC). Gómez did not live long enough to see the end of the decade nor to finish her film; she died suddenly in 1974, while De cierta manera was being edited. The film was completed with the technical supervision of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Julio García Espinosa, who also co-wrote the screenplay.
Judith Silva Cruzatt
De cierta manera was originally shot on 16mm. During the printing process, the edited negative was heavily damaged and was therefore shipped for repair to a Swedish laboratory where the negative was blown up from 16mm to 35mm. The (2K-4K) restoration used a 35mm image and sound dupe negative struck from ICAIC in 2008.
Cast and Credits
Scen.: Sara Gómez, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Tomás González Pérez, Julio García Espinosa. F.: Luis García. M.: Iván Arocha. Scgf.: Roberto Larrabure. Mus.: Sergio Vitier. Int.: Yolanda Cuéllar, Mario Balmaseda, Isaura Mendoza, Mario Limonta, Lazarito Gonzáles. Prod.: Camilo Vives Palles, Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industrias Cinematográficos (ICAIC). DCP. Bn.
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