About Memories of Underdevelopment

Left behind by his wife and family in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, the bourgeois intellectual Sergio (Sergio Corrieri) passes his days wandering Havana and idly reflecting, his amorous entanglements and political ambivalence gradually giving way to a mounting sense of alienation. With this adaptation of an innovative novel by Edmundo Desnoes, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea developed a cinematic style as radical as the times he was chronicling, creating a collage of vivid impressions through the use of experimental editing techniques, archival material, and spontaneously shot street scenes. Memories stands as a biting indictment of its protagonist’s disengagement, and an extraordinary glimpse of life in postrevolutionary Havana. [97 min; drama; English and Spanish with English subtitles]

A Q&A with Professor Emerita Darlene J. Sadlier (Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese) will follow the screening. Her new book on the film, BFI Film Classics: Memories of Underdevelopment, will be released in April 2023 and is available for pre-order. For a discount on your pre-order, please refer to this flyer.

"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, Village Voice

"This audacious, sensual portrait of an alienated intellectual in the early days of Castro's Cuba, released in 1968, is one of the great movies of its era." — Michael Sragow, The New Yorker

"Gutiérrez Alea blends documentary and feature devices, steals street scenes that put fictional characters in real situations, and offers New Wave-influenced insights into a man who resents what's around him but can't bring himself to leave it." — John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Any film screened at IU Cinema may contain content that viewers find sensitive or upsetting. Visit our Audience Advisories page to learn more.

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