The Short Documentary Films of Sara Gómez
Susan Lord, a professor in the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s University and director of the Vulnerable Media Lab, is the coeditor of The Cinema of Sara Gómez: Reframing Revolution. Lord will give a free lecture on the practices of the Vulnerable Media Lab Thursday, April 14.
Lázaro González is a doctoral student in the UC Berkeley Department of Film & Media. He developed this program in the fall 2021 graduate course on film curating, taught by Kathy Geritz.
Gómez was one of the most inventive filmmakers of postrevolutionary Cuban cinema. Through their intimate engagement with documentary subjects, her films look at the complexities of the Caribbean island’s social, political, and economic transformation. Her focus on social class, gender, and racial inequity within the socialist society challenged the political discourses of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Gómez died at the age of thirty-one, leaving behind one feature film (One Way or Another) and nineteen documentaries, which became a source of inspiration for future generations of independent Cuban filmmakers. As the film scholar Susan Lord acknowledged, “It is indeed worth underscoring the impact of her short life, not just on those who knew her but also on the formation of the ICAIC [Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos]; on ethnographic and autoethnographic filmmaking practice; on political discourses of race, gender, and revolution; and on that which could be represented.” The pieces selected for this program were recently restored by the Vulnerable Media Lab at Queen’s University, Canada, and by L’immagine Ritrovata, Italy. They are illustrative of Gómez’s ethical representation of subaltern subjects.
— Lázaro González
With thanks to Luciano Castillo, Cinemateca, Cuba; ICAIC, Cuba; Vulnerable Media Lab, Queen’s University; Department of Film & Media, UC Berkeley.
Films in this Screening
Iré a Santiago
Sara Gómez, Cuba, 1964
Guanabacoa: Crónicas de mi familia
Sara Gómez, Cuba, 1966
Una isla para Miguel
Sara Gómez, Cuba, 1968
Sara Gómez, Cuba, 1969