Great Shot of the Week
Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)
Dir. Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
There so almost too much to say about this extraordinary achievement of cinema, even in the fragments that make it up, so I will instead make an impassioned plea: Won’t someone please save this groundbreaking masterpiece from oblivion? Currently out-of-print, this could be a formidable coup for Criterion or Masters of Cinema, but I’m sure there is something of a rights struggle, as usual.
Anyways, this clip contains just about everything that define cinema, a glimpse of culture at a formative stage, a haunting exploration of the transient nature of memory, and of course, a little sex thrown in for good measure. Caught at a pivotal reconstruction of Cuba after Castro’s revolution, it shows a nation still very much in transition, while steadily growing uneasy of the developments taking place under a new regime. As revelatory as any Godard or Resnais, but only a fraction as renowned. Seek this film out, it’s truly one of the greatest achievements in cinema.