Cuban Cinema

Ruth Goldberg

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Cuban Cinema


The Cuban viewing public developed a healthy appetite for cinema during the first half of the twentieth century, but in spite of many efforts and some notable early films by Cuban filmmakers and producers, a national cinema initially failed to develop as fully in Cuba as in some other Latin American countries. It was only after the revolution came into power on 1 January 1959 that a national film industry was set in motion and a national cinema developed in earnest. Three months later, in what was to be its first cultural act, the revolutionary government created a national film industry, called the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC). At its inception ICAIC dedicated itself to producing and promoting cinema as a vehicle for communicating the ideas of the revolution, recognizing film as a medium for education, and seeking to provide an ideological alternative to the powerful media machine of Hollywood. ICAIC enjoyed a golden age, producing innovative and experimental fiction films that endure as classic works of great artistic value, including the influential revolutionary films of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Julio García Espinosa, and Humberto Solás, among many others. During this period ICAIC also produced luminaries in the field of documentary film, including Santiago Álvarez, Sara Gomez, and Nicolas Guillén Landrián, among others, whose experiments with both form and content continue to influence generations of filmmakers. As Cuban cinema has evolved and developed new patterns and directions in the fifty years since the founding of ICAIC, so too has the scholarship on Cuban cinema developed and evolved, in a departure from the impassioned political solidarity of leftist film scholars in the 1960s and 1970s. More recent scholarship on Cuban cinema has expanded to include historical works written by Cuban researchers on early Cuban films, as well as chronicles of the “Special Period” after the collapse of the Soviet Union when Cuban cinema began to shift toward new models of production, new formal strategies, and thematic content. Recent scholarship also includes reports from the current moment, in which we observe a new generation of filmmakers, and new artistic visions and developments in cinematic production on the island.

Article.  9227 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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