Film Forum has announced the 50th anniversary theatrical re-release of the Cuban classic film Memories of Underdevelopment / Memorias del subdesarrollo by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea in a new 4K restoration. The film will run January 12-18 at Film Forum in New York City, and released by Janus Films.
Post-Bay of Pigs Havana, as bourgeois, would-be writer Sergio Corrieri sees off his parents (they embrace) and wife (they don’t). Later, his seeming best friend emigrates, too, only after a long harangue. He attempts to write, observes the city through a telescope from his très 60s apartment balcony, and wanders through the streets, book stores, and art galleries, always aware of glances from women, fantasizing about his cleaning lady - then seducing Rita Moreno-ish Daisy Granados’ nervous/passionate working class teen. He watches a reel of sexy scenes cut from Hollywood movies by Batista-era censors and attends a literary round table with the likes of Edmundo Desnoes (author of the original novel) and Jack Gelber (author of The Connection).
We finally find out how he lives during an evaluation of his apartment by seeming commisars. He sweats his way through an embarrassing trial, and listens to a vintage Castro rant during the Missile Crisis. All filtered through brooding voice-overs, newsreels, and hidden camera treks through the city; a character study of a post-revolution désengagée through the techniques of the New Wave and Antonioni.
The film is a presentation by the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC), Les Films du Camélia, and the Cineteca di Bologna, and was restored by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory and financed by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.