192 Great Directors: Tomas Gutierrez Alea

“Actually, it wasn’t a preconceived dialogue, but, perhaps there is something to what you say. While I was preparing the film, I learned of Néstor’s death, and it affected me a great deal; I was in quite a dramatic situation myself at the time, because I had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was given a very poor prognosis. Then, with the film having as its theme a homosexual in Cuba, well, inevitably, I had to link it to what Néstor had done. So, yes, in a certain way, Fresa y chocolate is an answer to Conducta impropia.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Memories of Underdevelopment.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A.

What Did I Watch: Memories of Underdevelopment.

Where Does He Fit: I’d like to rewatch Memories of Underdevelopment, in part because it’s so slippery and unusual that watching it under less than ideal circumstances cannot have helped it, and the other half is related to just how shocking it becomes as it progresses, with Alea’s ideas about Cuba becoming increasingly barbed, with ideas about seclusion and intellectualism that seemed to loom in the background coming to the forefront very quickly, like a jump scare. I would have happily watched the entire warped riff on Vertigo that this became in the final act as a feature, but I think this might be a case of just needing to see this in ideal conditions to really feel it.

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Most Valuable Asset: Time in Cuba is passing too quickly.
Most Excited For: Death of a Bureaucrat.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Maybe.

Coming Up Next: Georges Franju, man with eyes and a face.

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