7.8/10
3,188
20 user 38 critic

Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)

Memorias del subdesarrollo (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 17 May 1973 (USA)
A Cuban man cycles through his repressed opinions and memories as the threat of foreign invasion intensifies and the rest of his family retreats to Miami.

Writers:

Edmundo Desnoes (novel), Edmundo Desnoes (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man attempts to fight the system in an entertaining account of bureaucracy amok and the tyranny of red tape.

Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Stars: Salvador Wood, Silvia Planas, Manuel Estanillo
Lucía (1968)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Traces episodes in the lives of three Cuban women, each named Lucía, from three different historical periods: the Cuban war of independence (with Spain), the 1930s, and the 1960s.

Director: Humberto Solás
Stars: Raquel Revuelta, Eslinda Núñez, Adela Legrá
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

This Oscar nominated film is the story of two men who are opposites, one gay, the other straight, one a fierce communist, the other a fierce individualist, one suspicious, the other accepting, and how they come to love each other.

Directors: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Juan Carlos Tabío
Stars: Jorge Perugorría, Vladimir Cruz, Mirta Ibarra
Guantanamera (1995)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

It is a satire about life in Cuba. The members of a funeral procession and some truckdrivers who have to take the same route begin to talk about god and the world ending up in discovering ... See full summary »

Directors: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Juan Carlos Tabío
Stars: Carlos Cruz, Mirta Ibarra, Jorge Perugorría
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A pious plantation owner attempts to teach Christianity to 12 of his slaves by inviting them to participate in a reenactment of the Last Supper.

Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Stars: Nelson Villagra, Silvano Rey, Luis Alberto García
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Fictionalized account of the adventures of hired gunman Antonio das Mortes, set against the real life last days of rural banditism. The movie follows Antonio as he witnesses the descent of ... See full summary »

Director: Glauber Rocha
Stars: Geraldo Del Rey, Yoná Magalhães, Othon Bastos
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Júlio Madiaga, a 'provinciano', arrives in Manila to search for Ligaya, his loved one.

Director: Lino Brocka
Stars: Hilda Koronel, Bembol Roco, Lou Salvador Jr.
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A grim portrayal of the shift from Paganism to Christianity in medieval Czechoslovakia - as a young virgin promised to God is kidnapped and raped by a marauder who her religious father seeks to kill in return.

Director: Frantisek Vlácil
Stars: Josef Kemr, Magda Vásáryová, Nada Hejna
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Stars: Bertina Acevedo, Enrique Fong, Miriam Gómez
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A theater director and script-writer falls for a female worker from the Havana docks, but his machismo, social and working conflicts, and the Cuban woman's condition interfere with their ... See full summary »

Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Stars: Óscar Álvarez, Mirta Ibarra, Omar Valdés
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The real story about an illiterate murderer, educated in prison, where he reflects on his actions days before he died.

Director: Miguel Littin
Stars: Nelson Villagra, Shenda Román, Marcelo Romo
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When her country is taken over by socialist revolutionaries, a wealthy woman can't bear to give up all of her wealth and possessions to the new government, so she hides all of her treasures... See full summary »

Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Stars: Enrique Santisteban, Reynaldo Miravalles, René Sánchez
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sergio Corrieri ... Sergio Carmona Mendoyo
Daisy Granados Daisy Granados ... Elena
Eslinda Núñez Eslinda Núñez ... Noemi
Omar Valdés Omar Valdés ... Pablo
René de la Cruz René de la Cruz ... Elena's brother
Yolanda Farr Yolanda Farr
Ofelia González Ofelia González
Jose Gil Abad Jose Gil Abad
Daniel Jordan Daniel Jordan
Luis López Luis López
Rafael Sosa Rafael Sosa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eduardo Casado Revuelta Eduardo Casado Revuelta
René Depestre René Depestre ... Himself / Panelist
Edmundo Desnoes Edmundo Desnoes ... Himself
Pello el Afrokán Pello el Afrokán
Edit

Storyline

Sergio (Sergio Corrieri), through his life following the departure of his wife, parents and friends in the wake of the Bay of Pigs incident. Alone in a brave new world, Sergio observes the constant threat of foreign invasion while chasing young women all over Havana before finally meeting Elena (Daisy Granados), a young virgin girl he seeks to mould into the image of his ex-wife, but at what cost to himself? Written by Mr Bongo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Cuba

Language:

Spanish | English

Release Date:

17 May 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Memories of Underdevelopment See more »

Filming Locations:

Havana, Cuba

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,244, 14 January 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$29,647, 15 February 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In a cheeky nod to the rigid Catholic censors of the Batista regime, Alea includes a reel of titillating footage that they had excised from Western films. See more »

Connections

Featured in I am Cuba, the Siberian Mammoth (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Complex and probing
1 August 2005 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

If you are inclined to think that Third World Cinema is simplistic and one-dimensional, I invite you see Tomas Gutiérrez Alea's Memories of Underdevelopment, selected by the New York Times in 1974 as one of the year's ten best movies. Based on the novel Inconsolable Memories by Edmundo Desnoës, a Cuban writer who lived in the United States, Memories is a complex and probing film about the dilemma faced by intellectuals in Cuba following the revolution. Although directed by a Cuban who supported the revolution and remained in Cuba until his death, the film has a European sensibility, interlacing fiction and documentary footage and using poetic images, literary narration, flashbacks, and newsreel footage reminiscent of Alain Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour.

Sergio (Sergio Corrieri) is a frustrated writer who chooses to remain in Cuba rather than follow his family to Miami just "to see how it all turns out". Though he has strong feelings for his people, he is indifferent towards politics an observer rather than a participant. Alea shows the artist as anti-hero, a man who undergoes an identity crisis, is sapped of all his vitality, feels old in his thirties, and drifts along without meaning and purpose. Unable to write the novel he wants, Sergio survives on rental income from apartments and lives in middle class luxury while around him housing is deteriorating and there are serious gas and oil shortages. He spends his days smoking in bed, looking out of a telescope through his bedroom window, taking walks, watching television, and meeting young women. He makes no pretense of his being an outsider but complains that "everything happens to me too early or too late". Hanna, the woman he says he truly loved urged him to move to New York with her and become a writer but he chose to remain in Cuba to go into the furniture business.

When Sergio makes the acquaintance of Elena (Daisy Granados), a sixteen- year-old girl who wants to be an actress, his life takes on new meaning but it is temporary and the affair ends badly. Persuading her that he knows important people in the theatrical world, he brings her to his apartment and they begin a relationship in which he tries to model her to fit his ideal of the bourgeois Cuban woman. He takes her to modern art galleries and the home of writer Ernest Hemingway to expose her to culture but it doesn't work and he complains when she doesn't fit into his mold. "She doesn't relate to things," he tells himself. "It's one of the signs of underdevelopment." Elena, like other Cuban women", he says, has an "inability to relate to things, to accumulate experience, to develop", but the stricture can just as easily refer to himself and he pays the price of this experience when the girl's parents bring a lawsuit against him for rape. Although he escapes the fate of a criminal, little by little the outside world, the world of guns, slogans, and rallies closes in on him and he feels trapped.

There are several documentary sequences interspersed throughout the film that have no apparent connection to the narrative but convey the sense that no one living in revolutionary Cuba is able to escape the presence of history. The opening sequence shows a public dance in which all the participants are black with the exception of Sergio who is white. In this sequence continued later in the film, an unnamed political leader is assassinated. In other footage, we see excerpts from the trial of counterrevolutionaries captured at Playa Giron, the site of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, and a third in which we hear the voices of Castro and Kennedy during the Cuban Missile crisis.

Though Alea apparently wants us to see the fate that befalls someone who does not directly endorse revolutionary activities, he makes his character so appealing and sympathetic that, to me, the film had mixed messages. I was torn between my support of the aims of the revolution and empathizing with Sergio's disdain for the emptiness of both the Cuban bourgeois and the revolutionary leadership. An event that took place only three years after Memories of Underdevlopment was released, however, underscored the point that Sergio was making. At that time, Castro, at the First National Congress on Education and Culture, said that artists and writers must reject "all manifestations of a decadent culture, the fruit of societies that are rent by contradictions". Not surprisingly, although due to receive a special prize for the film from the U.S. National Society of Film Critics in 1973, Gutiérrez Alea was denied a visa to attend the ceremony.


28 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed