Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 10:45


Tomás Gutiérrez Aléa
Introduced by

Michael Pogorzelsky e Luciano Castillo


Friday 30/06/2017


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

The birth of the controversial film Una pelea cubana contra los demonios dates back to 1964, when Tomás Gutiérrez Aléa first read Fernando Ortiz’s book by the same name and immediately decided to make it into a film. He first started working with the writer and ethnologist Miguel Barnet. The ambitious project was put on pause right before the making of Memorias del subdesarrollo and was resumed afterwards when Aléa decided to involve the well-known actor and theater director Vicente Revuelta and playwright José Triana in the project’s creation. The director did not conceal his frustration over its difficult gestation due to the profoundly complex narrative structure of Una pelea cubana contra los demonios. Aléa made it clear that he was not interested in faithfully representing the historical events that Fernando Ortiz documented in his work, but rather that it was a point of departure. In contrast to Ortiz’s book, which emphasizes the material nature of the priest’s true and sordid interest, the film instead focuses on the spiritual motives and fanaticism of Padre Manuel. The film’s prolonged gestation lasted over six years and coincided with a particularly dark period in Cuban history, sadly established by the Congreso Nacional de Educación y Cultura (1971) that triggered a wave of repression and marginalization of homosexuals, religious people and other minorities. When interviewed in 1975, Aléa said: “My objective was to dig into our past, look back and understand what our roots are as a nation, as a people, but also as individuals and, digging deeper, our roots as humans. A fact that happened in this country over three hundred years ago and in which demons, fanaticism and greed were part can show us in a certain way what we call the ‘human condition’”.

Luciano Castillo

Cast and Credits

Sog.: liberamente ispirato al saggio Historia de una pelea cubana contra los demonios di Fernando Ortiz. Scen.: Tomás Gutiérrez Aléa, in collaborazione con José Triana, Vincente Revuelta, Miguel Barnet. F.: Mario García Joya. M.: Nelsón Rodríguez. Scgf.: Vittorio Garatti, Pedro García Espinosa, Roberto Larrabure. Mus.: Leo Brouwer. Int.: Olivia Belizaires, Armando Bianchi, Maguel Carazu, Edgardo Carulla, Armando Suárez del Villar, Donato Figueiral, Luis Alberto García, Marés González, Oscar Hurtado, Verónica Lynn. Prod.: ICAIC. DCP. D.: 130’. Bn.