Cuban women in this rural peasant society were expected to marry at an early age and usually to an older man who would be dependent on her work in the fields, as well as the work of the offspring she would bring him. She was about 14 when she was married to an older man, and not long after that had a child.
The Cuban Revolution of 1959 gave birth to a fresh and vital national cinema that had not been seen in Cuba previously. The ICAIC (The Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry) was created. Less than three months after the Batista regime was overthrown. Influenced by Contemporary, auteur-led film-making from the French New Wave to Brazilian Cinema Novo, a new generation of young, dynamic film-makers led to a creative explosion of challenging films and documentaries. The ICAIC became a haven for Non-conformist film-making and Latin American directors seeking refuge from political repression. Three of the most significant and internationally acclaimed of these new directors were Toms Gutirrez Alea, Santiago Alvarez (a documentary film-maker) and Julio Garca Espinosa. Alea is best known for his feature Memories of Underdevelopment (1968), a portrait of the bourgeois Sergio - a would-be writer who is alienated from post-revolution Cuba due to his former status. As he observes the new changes, both political and cultural, his distance forces him to confront the prejudices of his class and himself. It was this same year that Espinosa presented his manifesto 'For an Imperfect Cinema' when he argued that it was more important to make gritty, honest films that tried to create a dialogue with the audience rather than wash over them with high, glossy production values.
The first feature by Humberto Sols was also a defining film in Cuban cinema from the 60s. Lucia (1968), is a trilogy of stories based on women named Lucia at different points in history: 1895, 1933 and the 60s. It may be deemed an example of Feminist film-making as each tale examines the changing roles and attitudes of Cuban women. One Way or Another (1974), by Sara Gmez, was one of the most
Revered, quasi-documentary films studying gender relations and the survival of Machismo. Her untimely death (from an acute asthma attack in 1974) was a great loss for Cuban cinema. Portrait of Teresa (1979), by Pastor Vega, continued this
Feminist exploration with the gritty portrayal of the demise of a marriage and it proved to be Cuba's most controversial film in twenty years.
Lucia is actually three films in one, a historical survey of three periods in the modern day history of Cuba, seen from the perspective of three different women with the same given name who participate in the struggle for liberation which characterized these periods. In 1895, Lucia is seduced into betraying Cuban forces led by her own brother during the war for independence from Spain. In 1933, Lucia leaves her upper middle-class family and becomes involved through her lover in the overthrow of the Cuban dictator Machado and the ultimate betrayal of that revolution by the "pseudo-democracy" then established; a betrayal which leads ultimately to the establishment of the Batista dictatorship of the early 50's. In the 1960's, Lucia is taught how to read and write during Cuba's literacy campaign, and in the process she learns of her own rights as a woman under the new socialist dispensation, leading to a confrontation with her husband's