Nuevo Cine Cubano By Lanz, Andy
Nuevo Cine Cubano refers to the postrevolutionary Cuban cinema that emerged in the years immediately following Fidel Castro’s rise to power. In March of 1959, various filmmakers and politicians (Alfredo Guevara, Julio García Espinosa, and Santiago Álvarez, among others) helped found the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), the cinematic production and distribution arm of the Revolutionary government whose main purpose was to utilize film as a means of mass communication and mobilization. While Cuban films produced before the Revolution were of little aesthetic or critical import, ICAIC immediately began turning out works with significant social, political, and artistic value. 1960s Cuba witnessed a unique convergence of artistic and ideological avant-gardism, and while other areas of cultural expression suffered under strict vigilance from the regime’s hardliners, filmmakers enjoyed a relative degree of autonomy thanks to the efforts of, among others, Alfredo Guevara (then the president of ICAIC). The cinema became a space of open critical engagement with Revolutionary policies while it acted as a means of celebrating and capitalizing on the newly acquired cultural literacy of the Cuban people.