Subscribe to watch - 14-day free trial, then £4.99 a month

Memories of Underdevelopment 15 rating

A mesmerising and complex character study of alienation amid tumultuous social change, from one of Cuba’s greatest directors, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea.

Drama 1968 99 mins

Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea



Based on Edmundo Desnoes’ novel, Memories of Underdevelopment is a complex character study of alienation amid tumultuous social change. Sergio, a wealthy aspiring writer, decides to remain in Cuba even though his wife and friends, like many members of the middle class, have taken flight from the country. Caught between the bourgeois lifestyle he is tired of and a revolution he doesn’t understand, Sergio reflects on the recent social changes and living in an underdeveloped country, as well as his relationships with girlfriends Elena and Hanna, and his deeply flawed marriage.

The film uses a combination of fragmented narrative, documentary (real-life footage of protests and political events are incorporated) and still photographs. Witty and irreverent, this is one of the best examples of the creative and original cinema that emerged from 60s Cuba, a stylistic tour-de-force. Ranked 169th in the 2022 Sight and Sound Great Films of All Time poll