Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 9th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Cuba, 1968
Director: Tomas Gutierrez Alea
Writers: Edmundo Desnoes, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Adpated From: Edmundo Desnoes Novel “Inconsolable Memories”
Cast: Sergio Corrieri, Daisy Granados, Eslinda Núñez, Omar Valdés, René de la Cruz
BluRay released: February 20th, 2017
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono Spanish / English
BluRay Release: Mr. Bongo
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £9.99 (UK)
Memories of Underdevelopment was co-written and directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea who’s other notable film’s include, The Twelve Chairs, Death of a Bureaucrat and The Last Supper. Key collaborators Memories of Underdevelopment include, cinematographer Ramón F. Suárez (I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse, The Guernica Tree) and composer Leo Brouwer (Like Water for Chocolate). The screenplay for this film was adapted from author Edmundo Desnoes’s novel Inconsolable Memories.
The narrative follows protagonist who struggles to fit in with the ever-changing world around him. Series of relationship with women are explored, including a girl from his past that he let get away and another relationship proves to be dangerous when his rejection of a young woman leads to him defending himself in court on the charge that he raped her.
Visually the fluid camera brings you into the protagonist world. With one of this film’s many strengths being its use of POV shots. The narrative does a superb job conveying the protagonist’s alienation and though music only appears sparingly, when it does appear it is during key moments. The social commentary in this film is just as relevant today.
The acting is solid all around. With this film’s standout performance being Sergio Corrieri (I Am Cuba) in the role of this film’s protagonist Sergio Carmona Mendoyo. It is through his characters’ eyes from which this film is told and he delivers a mesmerizing performance that is utterly convincing. Another standout performance includes, Daisy Granados (Humberto Solás Cecilia) in the role of Elena, the sixteen year old girl who accuses Sergio of taking her violating her. Ultimately Memories of Underdevelopment is a rare cinematic experience that is equally thought provoking and engaging.
Memories of Underdevelopment comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this HD release comes from a recent restoration. The footage that was shot for the film is in great shape and the stock footage that is used throughout the film looks as good as the source from which they originated. Contrast and black levels fare well, the image looks crisp, print debris is minimal and there are no issues with compression.
Notes included prior to the film about this film’s restoration.
“The restoration of Memorias Del Subdesarollo was made possible through the use of the original camera and sound negative and a vintage interpositive provided and preserved by ICAIC.
The camera negative was affected overall by advanced vinegar syndrome – in particular where the duplicate negatives of archival footage are edited into the film – causing a consistent ‘Hhalo’ on the image. Most of reel 3 was irreversibly crystalized and half of reel 4 was badly compromised by decay. The interpositive was used to replace the image in those portions.
The camera negative was restored in 4k and scanned using wet-gate only for the most problematic sections.”
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono audio mix in Spanish and removable English subtitles have been included for this release. It should be noted that there are some moments in the film where English is spoken. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced throughout.
This release comes with no extra content. There are two options on the main menu, play feature or chapter selection.
Overall Memories of Underdevelopment gets a strong audio / video from Mr. Bongo.