John Akomfrah presents: Memories of Underdevelopment

Tuesday 12 December 8.45pm, Cinema 2, Barbican cinema.

(Cuba, 1968, Dir Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 104 min Digital presentation)

This seminal film shows Cuba at a critical moment in its history, and offers an insightful reflection on what it's like to be an outsider at a time of change. Set in 1961, the film unfolds between the exodus after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion and the missile crisis of the following year. Sergio, a wealthy man, stays behind while the rest of his family leaves for the States. Sceptical of the promises of a new Cuba, he feels alone in a brave new world, unable either to leave or to come to terms with the changes happening around him. The film leaves us to ponder who or what is "undeveloped" in the scenario it presents: Sergio himself, as citizen and human being, or the state of the nation in the aftermath of the Batista regime? It was the subtlety and sophistication of its political analysis – exceptional in a product of Cuba's state-sponsored film industry of the time – plus its stylistic virtuosity, which led this film to become the first from post-revolutionary Cuba to gain widespread international acclaim.

This is part of a season at the Barbican Cinema, John Akomfrah presents…24 October – 4 January, Cinema 2

To complement his immersive six-channel video installation Purple in the Barbican Curve, Barbican Cinema presents John Akomfrah presents…, four films selected by British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah which have inspired his own work.

"Many films have influenced my work and life over the years, and some have had special significance. I am delighted to have this opportunity to present some of the films, by filmmakers who emerged as key figures of world cinema, that have had an indelible impact on my view of the world, and have inspired and shaped the direction of my work…" John Akomfrah

Full details here on the Barbican website

Venue: Barbican cinema, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS