Skip to content

Memories of Underdevelopment

A legendary cinematic work emanating from the golden age of Cuban cinema, Alea’s masterful vision of the tumultuous country, set in the context of the 1959 revolution, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, is one of world cinema’s finest products. Sergio (Sergio Corrieri) is a bourgeois wanderer with no discernable purpose in life—preoccupied with young women and material goods—after his wife and friends leave the island following the revolution. Routinely betraying his depraved behavior with enlightened, contradictory voiceover, he stumbles through a world gone mad via toxic masculinity and ultimately, the threat of nuclear war. Alea’s editing mixes Sergio’s travails with documentary and newsreel footage of celebrity, politics, and strife in a potent blend that, in 1968, had few if any cinematic forebears. “One of the greatest pictures ever made. Alternating between immediacy and reflection, fantasy and honesty, lyricism and horror, Memories of Underdevelopment feels like it’s being created before our very eyes.”—Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice.

Genres: Drama