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Lecture highlights Cuban cenematic landmarks

Photo by Lola Skipper

H. Mario Cavallari, professor of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies, hosted a lecture in Stern on April 20 chronicling Cuban cinema in the past 60 years. Dr. Jesus J. Barquet, professor of Latin American Studies at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, gave the lecture on the history of film in Cuba.

Barquet made a special point to tell the audience of students and faculty that Cuban cinema existed long before 1959, but recounted three distinct periods in recent Cuban film beginning at that time. The first period, called the Romantic period (1959 through 1971), produced films that mirrored Mexican melodramas.

Barquet explained that due to the Cuban Revolution and the instatement of Fidel Castro, the government began to invest in culture and a political culture was produced, therefore giving the industry money to produce films. After Fidel Castro approved Soviet restriction of Prague's socially focused films, the cinema industry in Cuba became more controlled and from then on produced more films which did not criticize the government or revolution, and thus the period became known as the Grey or Black Decade. Barquet continued to discuss the 1982s to 1990s, which yielded simple, low-budget films that reflected small parts of Cuban life and still didn't openly criticize the government.

The audience of Barquet's lecture seemed interested in information about Cuban cinema, as was evident by the many questions they asked.