Memories of Underdevelopment (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes

Memories of Underdevelopment (1973)

Memories of Underdevelopment



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Movie Info

The first Cuban film made after Fidel Castro's revolution to receive widespread distribution (and acclaim) in the United States, Memories of Underdevelopment is not exactly a broad endorsement of Castro's new Cuba. Its protagonist, Sergio (Sergio Correri) is depicted in the opening scenes as happy to see off his wife and parents and friends; they are fleeing Cuba in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion for America. He is skeptical of the ability of the Revolution to make a real change in Cuban society, observing that it is only the latest passion for an ever-changing society. Although Sergio's family furniture business has been taken over by the state, he still has a modest income as the landlord of several apartment buildings. He spends much of his time observing, either by walking the streets of Havana or using his telescope to spy on others from the safety of his apartment balcony. His passion is women, and in Elena (Daisy Granados), he finds an especially attractive object of desire. Her lack of experience excites him, but it almost proves his undoing when he decides to move on to other prey and Elena's family accuses him at a public trial of seducing and raping her. Acquitted and temporarily chastened, Sergio muses on what a new crisis, the discovery of Soviet missile installations by the United States, will mean for his island and his future. Filmmaker Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's next widely distributed film, 1994's Strawberry and Chocolate, was even more critical of the Castro government, focusing on its persecution of homosexuals. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Art House & International
Directed By:
In Theaters:

News & Interviews for Memories of Underdevelopment

Critic Reviews for Memories of Underdevelopment

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (5)

This audacious, sensual portrait of an alienated intellectual in the early days of Castro's Cuba, released in 1968, is one of the great movies of its era.

Full Review… | March 15, 2015
New Yorker
Top Critic

The eventual worldwide recognition of Underdevelopment as one of Cuba's finest films speaks as much for the frozen moment it captures as for its unimpeachable quality.

Full Review… | October 21, 2010
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Alea proceeds with dazzling and highly accomplished technique towards a perceptive and witty analysis.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Here is a film about alienation that is wise, sad and often funny, and that never slips into the bored and boring attitudes that wreck Antonioni's later films.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A thoroughly mature and original creation.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Though inevitably committed to Castro and the revolution, it's the most valuable account we have of this crucial period of Cuban history.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
Observer [UK]

Audience Reviews for Memories of Underdevelopment

Inspired by French nouvelle vague and Italian neorealism, Gutierrez Alea tells a picaresque and penetrating character study of a Cuban bourgeois trying to find his identity among the people living in the recently established socialist regime of Fidel Castro. A look on the underdeveloped Latin America that is deep down inside quite bitter, corrosive and deprived of hope.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


BUT WHO WAS TRULY UNDERDEVELOPED? OMG DEEP. Nah, the answer is and will always be Cuba. Backwards-ass mofos.

I was reading through my Reviews, when I realized that not only have I NOT graced the Profile with a Review of a Cuban Film --- but, I don't have anything by TOMAS GUTIERREZ ALEA even referenced.

What was I thinking?!?! I should be thrashed!!!!!

For MEMORIES is that rare Film that Enlightens as it Entertains. An examination of the Cuban Bourgeois in his native habitat --- and the changes he must make if He chooses to remain there. An extraordinary viewing experience which will linger for months afterwards. Recommended without reservation.

Jose Vazquez

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