Cinema of the Cuban Revolution

Elective Courses

CINE 294 - Cinema of the Cuban Revolution

COML 294 | LALS 296 | ROML 296
601 |Rachel Ellis |R 4:30-7:30pm |FBH 201

Fidel Castro’s “Speech to Intellectuals on 30 June 1961” marks a watershed moment for the Cuban Revolution’s stance on the artistic obligation to the revolutionary state: “Within the Revolution everything. Outside of the Revolution nothing.” [“Con la Revolución, todo. Fuera de la Revolución, nada.”] This speech, however, also touches a deep concern of the arts: the relation of representation to a polity. The course will begin by reading Castro’s speech with Plato’s Book XIV of the Republic, in which the debate of artistic representation’s obligation to a polity also arises, and leads Plato to consider the exile of poets and theatre from the city. We will then move through major filmic works of the Revolution, but mindful of the referents of the historically precarious relation of the artist to the polity, exile’s specific meaning in Cuba’s context, the 1961 speech and the 1972 “Padilla Affair,” which landed various writers and artists, like José Lezama Lima and Virgilio Piñera, in precarious situations for being homosexual given the Revolution’s stance on homosexuality as counter-revolutionary. We will constantly question the relation of the intellectual and artist to the state, and their respective concerns about the image and linguistic representation. The list of films could include: PM (1961); Soy Cuba (1964); Memorias del subdesarrollo (1968); Maluala (1979); Cecilia (1981); Fresa y chocolate (1994); Before Night Falls (2000); Balseros (2002); and Suite Habana(2003). Philosophy and criticism on film and “the image” by Roland Barthes, Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, Jacques Rancière and José Quiroga may be grouped with the viewings. We will also read snippets of literary texts that have relationships to the films “read” in the course. A course packet of these snippets (in English translation) and the critical essays will be provided by the instructor and will include parts of: Guillermo Cabrera Infante’sTres Tristes Tigres/Three Trapped Tigers, Edmundo Desnoes’ Memorias del subdesarrollo/Memories of Underdevelopment, Reinaldo Arenas’ Antes de anochezca/Before Night Falls, and Ena Lucía Portela’s Cien botellas en una pared/One Hundred Bottles.

last updated 06/17/2014 - 1:45pm

Cinema Studies Program
209A Fisher-Bennett Hall ⋅ 3340 Walnut Street ⋅ Philadelphia, PA 19104 ⋅ (215) 898-8782