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Film series delves into Cuban cinema, culture

The Burchfield Penney Art Center will play host to an eclectic selection of Cuban films during the second annual riverrun Global Film Series event, “Cuban Cinema & Culture.” Restored classics from the pre- and post Cuban Revolution eras, new films and scholarly lectures build on last year’s successful Iranian film series.

Highlights of the weekend include the award-winning 1968 film “Memories of Underdevelopment” ("Memorias del Subdesarrollo"), which was restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation. The 7:15 p.m. Oct. 12 screening will be followed by a Q&A hosted by College of William and Mary faculty scholar Ann Marie Scott. Scott, who is the founder/director of, is also regarded as a world scholar on Cuban film and will serve as keynote speaker to kick off the three-day event at 6 p.m Oct. 12.

Buffalo News film contributor Christopher Schobert will introduce a screening of Pavel Giroud’s “The Companion” ("El Acompanante") at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 14. The 2016 film centers on the unlikely friendship between a boxer and an HIV-positive war veteran in 1980s Cuba.

Here are other highlights:

Oct. 12

6 p.m. “Cameras in Cuba: Reflections on Revolutionary Cinema,” lecture by Ann Marie Stock, professor of Hispanic Studies and vice provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs, College of William and Mary

7:15 p.m. Restored Classics. "Memories of Underdevelopment" ("Memorias del Subdesarrollo," 1968, directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea). Followed by Q&A with Stock.

Oct. 13

4 p.m.: Documentary: By Women/About Women. "Treasure Island" ("Isla del Tesoro," 1969, Sara Gómez) and "Tania Libre" (2017, Lynn Hershman-Leeson; narrated by Tilda Swinton).

5:30 to 7 p.m. Happy hour with music by Wendell Rivera, "Buena Vista Social Club." Plus the film installations "Cuba and Immigration: Waters off of Caibarien" (2004) and "An Unkept Promise" (2005). Artist: Alberto Rey, painter, filmmaker and Professor of Visual Arts and New Media, State University of New York at Fredonia

7 p.m. Cuban poetry reading with Jorge Guitart (Cuban-born poet and UB professor of Spanish) and Olga Karman (Cuban-born poet and educator).

8 p.m. Cuban-Soviet productions: "I Am Cuba" ("Soy Cuba," 1964, Mikhail Kalatozov).

Oct. 14

2 p.m.: Environment: Nuclear Narratives. "The Project of the Century" ("La obra del siglo," 2015, Carlos Quintela), with scenes from "One Way or Another" ("De Cierta Manera," 1974, Sara Gómez).

4:30 p.m. Cuba and the AIDS Crisis. "The Companion" ("El Acompañante," 2016, Pavel Giroud).
7 p.m.: Old Cuba/ New Cuba Shorts
• Part I: Old Cuba: "El Megano" (1955, Julio Garcia Espinosa, courtesy of Dolores Calviño (Espinosa), Cinemateca de Cuba); "Chiaroscuro: The Making of ‘El Megano’ " (2011, Stephen Hart); "For the First Time" ("Por Primera Vez," 1967, Octavio Cortázar), "Coffea Arábiga" (1968, Nicolás Guillén Landrián) and "Now!" (1965, Santiago Álvarez).
•Part II: New Cuba. "Close" (2016, animation by Ernesto Rodríguez Piña), "House for Sale" ("Casa en Venta," 2016, Emanuel Giraldo), "Connection" ("Conectifai," 2017, Zoe Garcia), "Great" ("Muy Bien," 2017,  Sheyla Pool).



riverrun Global Film Series: Cuban Cinema & Culture

Festival runs Oct. 12 to Oct. 14 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave. It is free. Visit



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