Neorealist Film Aesthetics in Cuban Third Cinema

Starring Richard Gere and directed by Terrence Malick, Days of Heaven (1978) defies American film conventions by using natural lighting exclusively. This was the vision of DP Néstor Almendros, a Spanish born cinematographer. For the film Days of Heaven, Almendros draws upon European filmmaking tradition, Italian Neorealism in particular. Almendros himself studied in Rome and was part of the Cuban film industry as well. More than American film, Cuban film takes aesthetic inspiration from Italian cinema. Almendros then represents the proliferation of Italian film conventions through Cuba, with Days of Heaven as an aesthetic outlier in the United States. For my paper I will analyze the influence of Italian neorealist aesthetics on 20th century Cuban cinema and beyond, using Days of Heaven as an example of the connection.

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Ai Weiwei

I first learned about the artist Ai Weiwei in a documentary production class I took last term when watching Ai Weiwei Drifting (1). This film painted an introduction to him, sharing details about his experience as an immigrant, and how this phenomenon has shaped what inspires him as an artist. This relates to the themes that artists like Tanya Aguiñiga and Hiwa K share on what inspires them to create art. Ai Weiwei is a refugee who creates art that holds the purpose of amplifying the stories of other refugees. He shares in Ai Weiwei Drifting (1) that his connectedness to and understanding of the refugee condition is what drives him to create art. This film shows behind the scenes of Ai Weiwei creating his own documentary titled Human Flow (2) as well as other art projects, so it is very reflexive. 

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The work of Tomàs Gutiérrez Alea

Born in 1928 in Havana, Cuba, the place where he lived and died, the artist Tomás Gutiérrez Alea is remembered today as one of the most recognizable Cuban filmmakers of his time. After earning a degree in law at the University of Havana in 1951, Alea moved to Rome and studied film at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, where he graduated in 1953; this is where many Cuban filmmakers studied before the existence of the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC). Alea was the first Cuban director to be nominated for an Oscar, he was nominated for his film Strawberry and Chocolate (1993). Alea was very widely acclaimed for having written and directed over twenty films commenting on Cuban society, utilizing Third Cinema themes. 

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A resource for students facing food insecurity

The Produce Drop provides fresh fruits and vegetables to University of Oregon students facing food insecurity

Every Tuesday afternoon, the EMU Amphitheater is transformed into a miniature farmer’s market. Founded in 2019 and run by the Student Sustainability Center Food Justice team, the Produce Drop provides free produce to any student who self-identifies as earning up to twice the Federal Poverty Level (200 percent FPL). Over the years, as the resource has become known to more students, Produce Drop has seen an increase in visitors not met by an increase in supply.

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The triptych of Lucia

Lucia synopsis from Letterboxd: “In his award-winning film Lucía, Humberto Solás interpreted the theme of Cuba’s hundred years’ struggle in an entirely novel way to create an epic in three separate episodes, each centred around a woman called Lucía and each unfolding in a different period of Cuban history, corresponding to the three stages of colonialism (1895), neocolonialism (1930) and socialist revolution (1968). The three episodes also present us with ‘Lucías’ of different social classes. Solás described his film in this way: ‘The woman’s role always lays bare the contradictions of a period and makes them explicit: Lucía is not a film about women, it’s a film about society.’”

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