Monday, January 19, 2015

484. Memorias del Subdesarrollo/Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)

Running Time: 97 minutes
Directed By: Tomas Gutierrez Alea
Written By: Edmundo Desnoes, Tomas Gutierrez Alea, from the novel Memorias del Subdesarrollo by Edmundo Desnoes
Main Cast: Sergio Corrieri, Daisy Granados, Eslinda Nunez, Omar Valdes, Rene de la Cruz

900 DOWN...

If you're wondering what the hell happened to the font in that Aliens review, it got messed up because I had to type the review in Microsoft Word and then copy & paste it into the blog. There was a brief power outage at my place, so all I could get to on my laptop was Word. Anyway, power is restored, let's keep on truckin'.

I mainly picked this one because it was fairly short and because I needed something to short to ensure that I'd be able to finish up this season today. I didn't expect much out of it, especially after reading a plot synopsis stating that the film dealt with a lot of Cuban politics and tensions between USA and Cuba during the 60s, when we were on the brink of nuclear war. The film, however, also has a plot to go with it's politics and not a bad one at that. It's the early 60s and many people are leaving Havana for Florida, including main character Sergio's wife, Laura and his parents. Sergio instead stays behind, using the free time to begin a diary and perhaps write a novel. The film sort of plays out like Fellini's 8 1/2, with Sergio's love life just as under the microscope as the Cuban revolution. First, Sergio fantasizes about his maid, a somewhat homely woman, who Sergio thinks could look better if she only tried harder. Then there's Elena (Granados), a woman that Sergio meets on the street on her way to an audition. Sergio flirts with her heavily and eventually gets her to come back to his apartment, as the two begin a mild affair. During a tour of Ernest Hemingway's Cuban home, Sergio begins to ignore Elena when she shows interest in another man. Later, Elena's brother knocks on his door, accusing Sergio of raping her. Sergio, fearing prosecution from the family, agrees to marry Elena, however, a trial ensues anyway.

Not a lot to say about this one. I appreciate the fact that Alea didn't just beat us over the head with Cuban history, but instead affixed a plot so that non historians could benefit as well. I've actually watched this at a good time, seeing as how Cuban and American relations have sweetened over the past few months, hard to believe after the events of 1962. Did anyone else find similarities between this and an early Fellini work? I sure did. Heck, even Sergio bore a striking resemblance to Marcello Mastroianni. There was also a lot of self reflection by the main character, as is per usual with Fellini's characters (especially Mastroianni's character in 8 1/2), a fair amount of sex and naked women (another check to the Fellini comparison). It's almost as if Alea had an affinity for Europeans, as there were several lines comparing Cuban women to Parisian women and other little, positive remarks about Europeans. While I didn't care for the history lesson, the story of a man staying behind in a war torn Cuba, while his wife fled to America and the affair he had with a young, sexy woman is quite the plot and was more than enough to keep me interested and give this one a slightly positive review. While it didn't set my world on fire or anything, Memories of Underdevelopment was able to keep my attention for it's short duration, complete with an interesting main character and his own self reflection during troubled times.

RATING: 6/10  Can't go any higher than that, but that's like three or four points higher than I anticipated, so we'll call it a win.


January 19, 2015  3:59pm

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