National Identity in 21st-Century Cuban Cinema: Screening the Repeating Island

Libros Libros sobre cine cubano

Autora: Dunja Fehimović


National Identity in 21st-Century Cuban Cinema tours early 21st-century Cuban cinema through four key figures—the monster, the child, the historic icon, and the recluse—in order to offer a new perspective on the relationship between the Revolution, culture, and national identity in contemporary Cuba. Exploring films chosen to convey a recent diversification of subject matters, genres, and approaches, it depicts a changing industrial landscape in which the national film institute (ICAIC) coexists with international co-producers and small, ‘independent’ production companies. By tracing the reappearance, reconfiguration, and recycling of national identity in recent fiction feature films, the book demonstrates that the spectre of the national haunts Cuban cinema in ways that reflect intensified transnational flows of people, capital, and culture. Moreover, it shows that the creative manifestations of this spectre screen—both hiding and revealing—a persistent anxiety around Cubanness even as national identity is transformed by connections to the outside world.


“Combining a broad ranging theoretical framework with close readings of selected films, this is a fresh and original study of twenty-first century independent filmmaking in Cuba as the expression of an anxious quest for cubanía (Cubanness) in the face of the country’s reinsertion into global circuits of capital, information and culture.” (Michael Chanan, Professor of Film & Video, University of Roehampton, UK)

“More than a half-century after revolutionary films astounded international audiences, Cuba’s filmmakers remain both vocal and visionary. This compelling study positions lesser-known directors alongside maestros, and juxtaposes works made inside as well as outside the national film institute (ICAIC). In doing so, it proffers an insightful panorama of the vibrant 21st-century island production that emerges despite (or perhaps because of) seismic shifts in notions of national identity, transnational cultural practices, and Cuba’s place in the world.” (Ann Marie Stock, author of On Location in Cuba: Street Filmmaking during Times of Transition)

“Exemplary of new scholarship on Cuban cinema, Dunja Fehimović’s book boldly tackles historical, ideological, aesthetic continuities and disruptions, unmasking the challenges confronting contemporary Cuban audiovisual production. Beginning with Antonio Benítez Rojo’s iconic work on the Caribbean/Cuba as a ‘repeating island’, she analyzes specific films and complex socio-cultural-political debates, shining a new light upon our understanding of Cuban cinema in the 21st century.” (Ana López, Professor of Communication and Director of the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute, Tulane University, USA)

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