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De cierta manera

A man and woman lying in bed.
July 15, 2022 - 7:30 pm


Los Angeles restoration premiere!

De cierta manera

One Way or Another, Cuba, 1977

The first feature from Cuba to be directed by a woman, De cierta manera was also the one and only film by Sara Gómez (1942-1974), who died while the film was in the editing room. To date the only Black woman within the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC), Gómez’s identity was part and parcel of the stamp she would leave on what today would be called a hybrid, neorealistic work of fiction. Raised in Guanabacoa, considered one of the hotbeds of Afro-Cuban pop culture in Cuba, Gómez became a multidisciplinary artist, understanding from a young age how to analyze her own culture through an ethnographic lens and learning to play the piano before becoming a journalist for youth magazines and a Communist newspaper and joining the ICAIC. She learned filmmaking by assisting Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (Memories of Underdevelopment, 1968), who would help to finish her feature film following her death. Shot on handheld 16mm, Gómez’s is a film not just about love but about revolution, imbued with the turmoil of the Five Gray Years during which Cuba saw a Sovietization of its economic systems. Boldly confronting class, race and gender-based inequality, she addresses the uncertainty of quinquenio gris that impacted the labor market, educational opportunities, healthcare, women’s place in society and nearly every identifiable aspect of daily life. Like in Sarah Maldoror’s unforgettable Sambizanga (1972), the language of love becomes inseparable from the language of necessary revolt.

DCP, b&w, in Spanish with English subtitles, 73 min. Director: Sara Gómez. Screenwriter: Sara Gómez, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Tomás González Pérez, Julio García Espinosa. Cinematographer: Luis García. Editor: Iván Arocha. With: Yolanda Cuéllar, Mario Balmaseda, Isaura Mendoza. 2K digital restoration by Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst in collaboration with Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC); courtesy of Janus Films.