It's a whole new world

Thoughts in motion for Media Studies & H.O.C

Memorias del Subdesarrollo

Filed under: Class blog posts — Natalie Bernabe at 12:28 am on Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Or Memories of Underdevelopment. Kudos for Google Translation (just kidding I speak Spanish!).  Man were there a crazy amount of experimental, political, and avant-garde films to choose from! There was Black girl by Ousmane Sembene and Meshes of the Afternoon by Maya Deren, and others (That I can’t remember) ! We only watched the opening for this film, but i remembered a lot of it, and not just because I can speak Spanish! Shoot, I needed help with that dialogue, very glad for them subtitles!

Even though this movie is about Cuba’s newly regained independence, and how a wealthy married man decides to stay behind, I focused less on the political monologue and went towards the dialogue he was having with his wife in the tape recorder. It was so different and odd, and it really stuck with me. The first thing they talk about is the book she is reading, which she answers “Something trite, frivolous and decadent: ‘The Best of Everything’ “. With her contempt of Cuba and everything in it, those choice words were most likely directed to the country itself. While he is listening to the dialogue, the camera moves with him as her sorts through her clothes, wears her shawl, goes through her makeup and other things reminding himself of his wife. He seems like a pest, which she makes a reference to; about insects. She says that the country is going backwards, while she is saying that, he is looking through her makeup and jewelry, which is pretty weird for a guy( and sorta backwards too?)

There are a few interesting shots, like when he wears her monocles and there is a shot of the wife in bed reading. Then there is the part where he is painting a woman’s face on her mirror, while listening to his conversation where he tells her she is so attractive when she’s fake. That he likes her artificial beauty compared to other women’s natural beauty, which I found very odd to say to your wife. Again, backwards. He tells her it changed her from a “common little Cuban to  a glamorous beauty”. One could maybe see her resentment to Cuba, where it reminds her of her less-luxurious life. Her holds her underwear and there is a shot of her stepping into the shower. These shots help the scene as it seems like flashes of his memories while listening to the dialogue and going through these actions.

While she is telling him how disgusting he is, he starts to put on her pantyhose over his head. as if verifying this. He also tells her he has been recording the entire conversation. AND SHE PISSED!! He looks at himself in the mirror with the face with the pantyhose and one has to question this guy’s sanity. Or freakishness, you choose. He turns off the tape when they are screaming their heads off at each other. He slowly takes off the pantyhose and sits down, looking a bit forlorn. It was quite an odd scene, but the entire segment was shot beautifully and had the overall effect of us looking into his personality and his personal life.  Maybe I’ll watch the rest of the film. Maybe.

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