October's offspring: Soviet cinema and The Cuban film institute

John Mraz


Has Soviet cinema been a significant influence on the films produced in Revolutionary Cuba? I will limit my focus here to the first fifteen years of Cuban cinema, from 1960 to 1975, an era that is both formative as well as decisive for the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC, Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos). During this time, a truly national cinema was forged, alternative film styles were explored, and a serious effort was made to develop critiques and theories that would contribute to the creation of a genuinely new way to make movies. Around 1968, the Cuban Revolution began to undergo a process of institutionalization that would eventually lead away from cinematic experimentation as part of a general cultural retreat from exploration.

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