Third Cinema revisited

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Cuba: Living Between Hurricanes / Vivir entre ciclones, 2019

Posted by keith1942 on February 2, 2020

This is a new title by Michael Chanan working with the Commodities of Empire British Academy Research Project at London University and the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos. The film was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

“In the Commodities of Empire project, we explore the networks through which particular commodities circulated both within and in the spaces between empires, with particular attention to local processes originating in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America, which significantly influenced the outcome of the encounter between the world economy and regional societies.”

ICAIC is the world famous Institute, founded in the aftermath of the Revolution and responsible for a long line of political cinematic masterworks.

This is a 69 minutes documentary which focuses on the way hurricanes affect Cuba but relates this to the focus of the ‘Commodities’ project and also to the history and politics of Cuba since the 1959;s successful revolution. The documentary opens with the voices of local Cubans from Caibarién, a fishing port on the north coast of Cuba. These are followed by comments and archive materials from contemporary Cuba and from its history since the revolution.  The documentary is divided into three parts:

Part One: Hurricanes and History

Part 2: Caibarién – Rise and fall of a port

Part 3: Sustainable Futures

Over the 69 minutes the title presents a portrait of Caibarién and key people in the port. It fills in some of the changes, both economic and political, over the decades since the 1960s. And it offers a sense of the direction of Cuba in the C21st.

The archival material is well integrated into the contemporary footage which is in colour and standard wide screen. The dialogue and commentary, much of it in Spanish, is rendered in English sub-titles. The archival material includes both documentary and newsreel footage and extracts from some of the key films produced by ICAIC. As one comment noted, the film achieves a smooth and telling narrative with a fairly clear political commentary.

Hurricane map – ‘Irma’

Michael Chanan, in comments on the documentary, writes;

“We believe that this film, about ecological history and moves towards ecosocialism in Cuba, makes a timely contribution to the increasingly urgent debate about climate change both in Cuba and globally.”

Ecosocialism is a fairly varied political discourse. In this work we see and hear how Cuba is coping with the economic problems that follow on from the continuing US boycott and the loss of of sometime patron, the USSR. Depending on your stance the degree to which Cuba can be considered a socialist society will vary. And I suspect this will also apply to the political and economic direction presented in this analysis.

What is clear is that, despite,the setbacks and adverse situations experienced by Cuba, the Island continues to defend the positive aspects of the revolution and resist the neo-colonial polices of the USA.

Michael Chanan has along career in supporting an publicising progressive politics and in particular progressive cinema across Latin America and in particular in Cuba. There are a number of fine Cuban films that I have enjoyed thanks to his efforts. And this new documentary continues that important work and is definitely worth viewing at least once. There are some rare screenings which can be checked on the web page: livingbetweenhurricanes.org

And the page also offers the opportunity of viewing this work on line. If you are not able to find a screening you can attend, which would seem to also include talks by people involved in the film; then definitely spend 70 minutes watching it on line.

The documentary is also been publicised on the Radical Film Network.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 
%d bloggers like this: