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Up to a Certain Point (Hasta cierto punto)
by
Cuba 1983
A barbed look at sex and class in post-revolutionary Cuba, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea`s Up to a Certain Point is something of a tribute to and continuation of Sara Gómez`s One Way or Another, a film Alea help complete after Gómez`s untimely death. Up to a Certain Point (the film`s Spanish-language title, Hasta cierto punto, deliberately echoes that of Gómez`s feature, De cierta manera) concerns self- deluded Oscar, a successful playwright married to an actress. Oscar is at work on his first screenplay, on the lingering presence of Latin-style machismo in progressive, supposedly egalitarian Cuba. To research the subject, he begins conducting interviews with male and female workers at the Havana docks -- and finds himself falling in love with liberated Lina, a beautiful young dockworker. When Oscar and Lina embark on an affair, it quickly becomes apparent that, under his liberated veneer, Oscar is pretty much mired in tired old machismo himself. The drama is intercut with actual video interviews with Cuban workers, one of whom declares that women should be free, `up to a certain point`; Alea saves his sharpest barbs for quasi- bourgeois intellectuals and bohemians like Oscar (and like Alea himself), with their preconceived notions about the proletariat. `As in his earlier films, Gutiérrez Alea brings a dynamic, visceral approach to his material, endowing it with startling immediacy. Up to a Certain Point hovers between a pointed social critique and a general lament for the human condition` (Richard Peña). `Alea wields his arguments with the lightest touch and a great sensitivity. . . and uses the same cruising camera technique that served him so well in Memories of Underdevelopment` (Enrique Fernández, Village Voice). Cuba 1983. Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. Cast: Oscar Alvarez, Mirta Ibarra, Omar Valdés, Coralia Veloz. Colour, 16mm, in Spanish with English subtitles. 88 mins.
by Cinematheque Website
Article ID 285
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