Cuban Cinema in the 1970s: The Art of Autonomy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


'Cultural politics in 1970s Cuba is often seen as taking a turn towards the Soviet Union and taking on influences of socialist realism, and there is much evidence to show that in many ways this did happen across various areas of cultural production, following the First National Congress on Education and Culture in 1971. What followed, it is argued, are the years known as the quinquenio gris of Cuban cultural production. But the cultural politics of Cuban cinema at this time was a far more complex arena and in many ways the Cuban film institute (ICAIC), rather than merely following cultural policy was influencing it. From Julio García Espinosa’s essay on Imperfect Cinema in 1968, Cuban cinema, although at times veering towards a populist revolutionary aesthetic on some occasions, produced films that as Michael Chanan says ‘played a leading role throughout this period in the ideological confrontations through which the new cultural politics was defined’ (Cuban Cinema, 2004: 356). This article intends to illustrate how Cuban cinema became the vanguard for Cuban cultural politics in its defence of experimentalism and the use of varied styles and techniques, always defending the rights of Cuban artists and intellectuals to produce critical works using radical film language. It will argue that this influence stretched across all areas of Cuban cultural production and became central to the internal re-structuring of cultural hegemony in this critical decade.’
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCuba's Forgotten Decade. How the 1970s Shaped the Revolution
EditorsEmily Kirk, Anna Clayfield, Isabel Story
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781498568739, 978-1498568753
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameLexington Studies on Cuba
PublisherLexington Books


  • Cuba
  • Cinema
  • Culture
  • 1970s


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