Beyond the Mono-Cultural Ideal:

Gloria Rolando and the Filming of Afro-Cuban History

Elizabeth S. Gunn

“For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun,” reads the headline of a March, 2013, New York Times article.[1] Do not tell this to Gloria Rolando,[2] Afro-Cuban documentarian on an international tour to promote her latest of eight feature length films, 1912, Voces para un Silencio (1912: Breaking the Silence), released in 2013. She is one of a handful of Black women in Cuba to have ever made films. Rolando often reflects on the historical role of women or minorities in Cuba, and she is one of very few Afro-Cuban filmmakers to emerge from Cuba’s landmark Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC), an entity established by the government following the 1959 communist revolution. In order to situate Rolando’s work in the context of Cuban film, Ebrahim notes that “the history of Cuban cinema is of particular interest to anyone concerned with examining cinema from a global perspective, continuing as it does, a trajectory intended—from the very beginning of the Revolutionary period—to undertake a ‘decolonization of the screens.’”[3] This paper considers Rolando’s body of work, as a self-inscription and deliberate intervention into visual Afro-Cuban culture, with careful attention to her unique status as a Cuban female filmmaker.

 

Several decades of research on Afro-Cuban studies yields the rigorous necessity to resist and reveal the racist, homophobic, and nationalistic discourses that marginalize the already marginalized. In the case of Rolando, whose career spans over 20 years at the ICAIC, one may add another layer to the identity matrix: gender. In other words, what happens behind the camera and at the ICAIC is just as fascinating, if not more so, than what makes its way to the screen. In the case of Rolando, one must uncover several complex layers of marginalization and dissentification from normative discourses on race, gender, class, sexual identity, film—I refer to the marginalized genre of documentary, and within that Cuban documentary, and within that Afro-Cuban documentary, and within that Afro-Cuban documentary by a woman artist. In the context of Cuba, it is problematic to divorce kinship and race from heteronormativity and nationalism as the national sexual subject is precisely almost always heteronormative in national discourse: narrative presupposes ideology.

 

Rolando has worked as researcher and assistant director of nineteen films, as assistant director of three feature length fictional films, and has narrated, written, and co-directed numerous other films. With a career spanning 35 years, she names her collective work “Histories and Images of Our People.” In 2012, I interviewed Rolando who spoke about her early years in Havana. I inquired into her first memory of seeing a film. She responded:

Ahora si, yo no recuerdo eso. Yo lo que te puedo decir es que yo estudié música primero y después historia del arte y
cuando termine en el setenta y seis, tuve que hacer lo que se llama servicios sociales[4] y tuve la suerte que me
tocara el instituto del cine en Cuba. Y digo la suerte porque muchas personas hubiesen querido tener ese tipo de
ubicación porque era y es un centro cultural cubana y tiene muchísimo prestigio nacional e internacional.

Right now, I don’t remember that. What I can tell you is that I studied music first and then art history, and when I
finished in seventy-six, I had to do what is called social services, and I had the good fortune to be assigned to
Instituto de Cine in Cuba. And I say “good fortune” because many people what have wanted to have this kind of
appointment because it was and still is a Cuban cultural center, and it has a lot of national and international
prestige. (Translation mine.)[5]

Rolando studied music and art history at the University of Havana, and eventually in 1987 earned a postgraduate degree in Caribbean Literature from the University of Havana and from the Casa de las Américas on Slavery in 1988. Afterward, she stayed with the ICAIC upon the completion of her “servicio social.”

Rolando is a trailblazer in a Cuban discipline that has seen but a handful of women filmmakers. Rolando often cites the well-known Sara Gomez as her predecessor, though the latter died shortly before Rolando entered the ICAIC. According Afro-Cuban scholars such as Catherine Benamou, there continues to exist a dilemma, one deeply rooted in racist, colonial history, that continues to face post-revolutionary Cuban cinema: “issues of difference along lines of gender, race, and sexual preference (in addition to class) have [not] been adequately addressed within the established institutional channels . . . there is a pressing need to create more autonomous spaces within which divergent subjectivities and identities can be represented ‘on their own terms’” (emphasis in original).[6]

Gomez was not Rolando’s only predecessor or contemporary, however. Women filmmakers began to emerge from the ICAIC in the 1980s. These artists made mostly documentaries and are referred to as a “third generation” of documentarians “who were given the ‘director’s chair’ as a part of an attempt to bring new creative blood into the ICAIC.”[7] According to Benamou, “the new harvest of women’s documentaries in the eighties brought the exploration of personal, subjective experience to new prominence without abandoning the relationship . . . of the individual to the broader collectivity.”[8] Commonly cited names from this generation of filmmakers include Marisol Trujillo, Mariam Talavera, Rebecca Chávez and Mayra Vilásis. These documentarians “were able to loosen and even break the ‘necessary’ synecdoche character-collectivity/woman-nation and offer . . . a more pluralistic vision . . . this allowed for broader definition of social identity, one that would accommodate signs of racial and ethnic difference.”[9] It is in this moment and on the cusp of this generation of filmmakers that Rolando is perfecting her craft. Rolando reaches beyond the debates that Benamou addresses, and forces the viewer (the subject, the nation) to question the notion of the process of identification and subjectification. Since she holds the camera and the information, she produces – both literally and figuratively—a new notion of breaking the silence. Looking at the historical moment in which Rolando begins her career, Benamou offers important research on the role of women in Cuban film. In her article titled “Cuban Cinema: On the Threshold of Gender,” she argues that access to production and distribution of mass media, for women, has been inextricably linked to the direction taken by the revolution. Benamou holds:

not only were there few women technicians and no women film directors prior to 1959, but the possibility of altering
public image of women—away from the passive, stereotypical constructions in the form of mother, seductress, domestic
servant—had to await the emancipatory changes in the status for the majority of women that accompanied large-scale, socioeconomic transformations in the postrevolutionary era.(emphasis in original)[10]

She continues to argue that, throughout the 1960s, women’s initiatives were helping replace those aforementioned stereotypes, and that by the 1980s the Federation of Cuban Women brought issues of housework, childcare and equal participation in the labor force into the national debate. Additionally, “many of the taboos surrounding women’s mastery and control over communications technology had lifted.”[11] Similarly, women’s issues shifted in film, and at first, not surprisingly, those shifting images and concerns were written and directed by men, namely Humberto Sola and Octavio Cortázar. Benamou goes on to suggest that while seemingly sympathetic male directors were portraying women as protagonists in Cuban films, “the immediate context for change was often the nuclear family as productive/reproductive unit (even when the change implied divorce), whereas the ultimate referent for change was the national collectivity.”[12]

While Rolando wrestles with the notion of national collectivity in 1912: Breaking the Silence, she is not bound to this kind of domesticity of will. Rather, she makes the decisions about who she interviews, how she mixes the sound, and even what the title of her work will be. And perhaps most importantly, she is the writer and director in her own rescuing and writing of the lost history of the PIC. Often, who is behind the camera—in this case Rolando—can upend what Benamou describes as “a source of sexual/politically debility or ‘lack,’ to be developed or assisted in accordance with the male-driven and, occasionally, male-focused narrative agenda.”[13]

 

Rolando’s first documentary, Forever Present: Oggún, premiered in 1991. This film “features the life and talent of Cuban singer and founder of the Conjunto Folklórico Nacional, Lázaro Ros.”[14] This documentary celebrates Yoruba song and dance by “inserting scenes representing the patakines” which are Yoruba legends.[15] Rolando speaks about contextualizing her own films within a strong nationalistic culture that officially shuns racism while simultaneously silencing Cuba’s African ancestry:

For that reason my first documentary, Oggun: The Eternal Present (1992), features Lazaro Ros, who is one of the most
important singers in Cuba. He is like the African griot in Cuba . . . Now of course his African heritage is recognized in
Cuba, but I decided to make this documentary, Oggun, because, thanks to the residstence efforts and the way they love
and protect the ancestors, they were able to maintain this culture until the present.”[16]

 

Rolando’s second documentary, My Footsteps in Baraguá, appeared in 1996. The documentarian interviewed “members of a Cuban West Indian community composed of people from Jamaica, with scenes of worship in which participants pray in English, as well as scenes of them playing cricket and celebrating the Maypole dance.”[17] In this film, the style and content are intentionally joined to recuperate a story through deliberate cinematic style:

In the style of the documentary are merged family memories in a process very familiar to other Caribbean people:
for example the trip from Jamaica, Barbados, and other islands to Panama and subsequently to Cuba which started
the heady development of the sugar industry in the early years of this century. Direct testimony does not preclude
the poetry present in the charm of the environment of the old sugar barracks, the re-creation of the traditional music
and dance such as the Maypole, and the use of old photos that allow us an imaginary approach to that past.[18]

It is well known that the Caribbean’s new inhabitants brought English, Spanish, and African cultures, and this film serves as an anthem to the underrepresented influences of African heritages by profiling three public intellectuals whose contributions shaped knowledge about African legacies in the island nations: Nicolas Guillen from Cuba, George Lamming from Barbados, and Rex Nettleford from Jamaica. In this way, Rolando recovers a lost stories, honors those who have come before, and, as a filmmaker, inserts herself and her work into this legacy.

 

Her third documentary, The Eyes of the Rainbow, was released in 1997 and is “dedicated to all women who wish for a better world [and] portrays the life of Black Panther Assata Shakur from her childhood to her political involvement in the United States to her exile in Cuba.”[19] More than a decade ahead of what would emerge from the United Nations as the International Year for People of African Descent, Rolando, “through Shakur’s testimony . . . makes her own views known about her country and culture. The mechanism of allowing one African diaspora woman to speak for the other implies a collective experience for women of African descent across national boundaries.”[20]

In 1999, Rolando premiered El Alacrán (The Scorpion), a film that explores the Havana carnival. It focuses on the “comparsa,” a conga-playing band popular among Latin American festivals. In this documentary, Rolando highlights the 1908 comparsa dedicated to the Afro-Cuban goddess Yemaya, an orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion.

 

Rolando breaks from the documentary in 2000 with a fictional short length film titled Roots of My Heart. With this film she begins to explore the 1912 “massacre of the Independientes de Color, when military forces of Cuban president José Miguel Gómez killed more than 6,000 Afro-Cubans. They had risen in arms when their established political party was banned on the grounds that organizing along racial issues was racist as well as contrary to the Cuban constitution.”[21]  Rolando’s film, while fictional, rectifies the White imposed racial misnomer that the Independientes de Color were racist, a label affixed to them and to their party leader, Evaristo Estenoz.[22] Flora González Mandri likens African hair-braiding—as referred to by the film’s title—to Rolando’s “feminine sensibility that strives to valorize the role of the domestic, of oral tradition, and of the mythical in the filmic process.”[23]

 

The filmmaker’s fourth important film, Los Marqueses de Ataré, premiered in 2002 and “documents another Havana comparsa, or carnival group, similar to El Alacran, but viewed more in depth. This film continues the strategy Rolando and her group, Imágenes del Caribe: rescue and preserve Afro-Cuban cultural expressions.”[24]

 

In 2004 Rolando released yet another documentary titled Nosotros y El Jazz (The Jazz in Us). “The goal of this documentary is to relate a chapter in the history shared by Afrocubans and African Americans through their common culture. It's the story of a group of black Havana youths in the 1940's and 50's who hung out around jazz. In private houses, black societies, and some bars in the cities, they enjoyed what were then called "Jam Sessions," using the English term.”[25]

 

Finally, in 2010 she released a chapter in a three part series, 1912, Voces para un Silencio (1912: Breaking the Silence) about the 1912 Partido Independiente de Color (PIC). The film reaches backward to uncover a legacy of consistent and skilled resistance by the Black movement in Cuba since colonial times. To situate 1912: Breaking the Silence in the context of Rolando’s long and distinguished career is to understand the nuanced recovery of Afro-Cuban history through the aforementioned films. The film 1912: Breaking the Silence, chronicles the PIC or Independent Party of Color in Cuba. The second film in the trilogy, it reaches backward to uncover a legacy of consistent and skilled resistance by the black movement in Cuba since colonial times. It seeks to center the stage by legitimizing the PIC and its leader Antonio Maceo, the Afro-Cuban General of the Liberation Army. The film is told in a vein of citizenry: who claims it and how it is claimed. Rolando’s work is argumentative in this regard; however, what remains un-staged is the filmmaker’s gender identity. This documentary also builds on her earlier work (reviewed sequentially above) and conscientiously centers on the socio-political erasure of Afro-Cuban political empowerment.

Rolando’s documentary is also a critical, nuanced intervention in a culture that privileges national identity over race. According to Rolando, “We have a strong concept of national identity in Cuba. We don’t call anybody African-Cuban, or European Cuban. But we need to recognize the complexity of Cuban roots. Africans arrived in the condition of slaves and African culture was never considered part of the official culture.”[26] It is in this context that Rolando has created an oeuvre of documentaries examining the Afro-Cuban history. Rolando’s work is an intentional disruption to this erasure, and her collective works as a response to a racist and sexist society, through its content and through a reading of identity politics of the filmmaker’s lens. This analysis begins with a review of her works, then places the filmmaker in a socio-political setting of post-Revolutionary Cuba, and finally contextualizes the lens of a female documentarian in this vary society.

 

Rolando’s work systematically recovers the erasure of Afro-Cuban history through her films about music, religion, culture, and socio-political power. She does not overtly deal with sex or gender in the latter film, 1912: Breaking the Silence; however, she is the power behind the lens curating forgotten or underrepresented narratives through her voice. Considering Rolando’s work as a narrative of ideology, it is certain that something (race, gender, sexual identity, class, desire, etc.) will always be left out. This is because narrative is a process of creating a supposedly continuous, progressive story about the way something works or is supposed to work.[27]

 

In the case of Rolando’s work, and even Sara Gómez’s work, forced identification with the female character and/or narrative (filmmaker, writer, director) lens mitigates against how one views these films. According to Benamou, “until the early eighties, the solitary exception to the trend of films by men was the work of Sara Gómez.”[28] She notes of the work of Gómez, a feminist predecessor to Rolando:

potentially a pejorative label used by the urban middle class to designate social “undesirables” from the urban
“underclass,” “marginality” is resignified in the film to refer both to the ensemble of physical and psychosocial
conditions that have prevented blacks, women, and the very poor from fully participating in any national power
structure and to be the surviving manifestations of machismo. (emphasis in original)[29]

As with Gomez’s films, Rolando does not place the burden on one group of people, nor does she adhere to one narrative technique; rather, “given the integral relationship between formal and thematic content, this provides an additional step toward cultural and ideological openness.”[30]

Roland Barthes (although he did not directly consider film) placed ideology firmly at the forefront of film studies. His work suggests that as an artistic creation, film represents the optical illusion of truth. Conscious of dominant narratives of truth and actuality, Barthes’ theories, such as his theorization of the myth, allowed for a self-reflexive probing into the somewhat unexamined ideological backdrop to the film apparatus as well as to narrative in movies. Althusserian film theory also consciously placed ideology in the foreground. Grounded in Marxism, Althusser’s notion of the ideological and repressive state apparatuses allowed for the question, “how do subjects submit themselves to the dominant class?” Althusser understood this submission via ideology. If, for Marx, an economic superstructure determines society, for Althusser, other societal factors such as religion, legal systems, etc., interact via economics to determine a society’s structure. Althusser argued that Hollywood was an ideological state apparatus that promulgated dominance, capitalism, and hegemonic thinking.

 

In the chapter titled “Narrative Space,” within Questions of Cinema, Stephen Heath holds that constructions of space and perspectives are already always infused with ideology.[31] Accordingly, Hollywood is self-replicating, in that does not simply represent; rather, it constructs a self-perpetuated version of reality. The spectator is made to feel as if he is moving through the real world. This concept relates to Althusser’s notion of interpellation in that the subject is made to feel central within the dominant culture. Hegemonic ideology works in this way to expand, shift, and reorganize to maintain the status quo of power relations. In other words, the spectator is made central to the film in order to keep him seated both in the movie house and in society: dominant ideology is promulgated unbeknownst to the viewer.

 

Film studies, then, including documentary studies, have been understood through three major organizational questions: explanative (how do they work?), interpretive (what do they mean and how they are made and reproduced?), and political (what is their ideology?). While the ways in which these questions are set up and answered vary between film styles and methods, in each instance the question is concerned with ideology. This works on two levels: the first asks, what is film, and the second asks, what is the process of production and distribution and what do they mean? These questions in film studies presuppose a narrative, a way in which both film and television may be understood and analyzed with some certainty over time.

 

Like realism in most art, film seeks to recreate a perceived notion of fullness. The actual frames are discontinuous in film, but the process of editing hides this in the effort to convey a sense of continuity. The denial of difference, the denial of breaks is, for Jean-Louis Baudry, the denial of film’s own reality. In “Ideological Effects of Basic Cinemographic Apparatus,” Baudry moves into psychoanalysis by addressing the break between the signifier and the signified: they do not, of course, correlate the same over time and thus produce difference.[32] Similarly, the subject constitutes meaning as the film he is watching negates its own discontinuity. Both film and viewer engage in a mutual relationship to reinforce the idea of transcendental or original wholeness. One the level of form, film is discontinuous; on the level of content, the narrative works to fill in the formulaic gaps in an effort to preserve the illusion of a whole movie and a whole subject. This mutual relationship maintains the illusion of wholeness in what Althusser would see a capitalist, hierarchical notion of identity.

 

Regarding the narratives of wholeness national inevitability as propelled by the ICAIC, the July/August 2011 North American Congress on Latin America Report asks this question: can the Cuban Revolution be salvaged?[33] The question is sexual and economical. And in brief, the answer that the report proposes is that Cuba cannot survive on its current economic system. In the opening piece of this report, “Introduction: Salvaging a Revolution?” author Eric Hershberg states that “a generation has grown up deeply and despairing of its future, profoundly skeptical toward revolutionary utopias, and all too frequently bereft of hope for any way out short of exit.”[34] How then, does a filmmaker like Rolando afford to work, economically, politically, and in the context of a racial narrative whose discourse circulates with reproductive necessity?

Buckwalter-Arias, in his article titled “Reinscribing the Aesthetic: Cuban Narrative and Post-Soviet Cultural Politics,” offers a possible answer. He holds that the break-up of the Soviet Union and its impact on Cuba resulting in the “Special Period” did not lead to a liberating moment for aesthetics inside the state. [35] Buckwalter-Arias responds to two consequences in Cuban art as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union: the flourishing of a pre-extrarevolutionary aesthetic discourse and a debilitation of the socialist metanarrative and the concomitant reinsertion of Cuban culture into the international market.[36] As Rolando’s work does rescue a pre-Communist Revolution moment, that is the uprising and massacre of the PIC in 1912, Buckwalter-Arias might argue the following about Rolando’s work: “texts that are set in revolutionary Cuba and circulate for the most part in overseas markets [are] framed, ideologically, by a tension between the embattled socialist superstructure and the reintroduced capitalist base.”[37] I would call this an aperture, long in the making and based in large part on Rolando’s predecessors, on which she capitalizes. In this context, and in the aforementioned restructuring of the ICAIC, Rolando reaches backward, indeed, to bring the national and international market a story that problematizes the matrices of gender, race and nationality.

 

Indeed, nationality is based on an underlying concept of sameness, and that sameness is perpetuated. In the case of Rolando, she is not perpetuating sameness in spirit of official revolutionary politics; rather, her films, both in form and content, problematize Cuban doctrine on sameness. How could one make a film about the PIC in racism-less society? Further, how could an Afro-Cuban woman filmmaker be behind the lens, that is, behind the looking glass? According to Buckwalter-Arias, “this state-decree aesthetic theory was standardized in the revolution’s problematic art-as-weapon trope, and the paradigm remained unchallenged, and therefore underdeveloped [and then] post-Soviet Cuban writers begin to talk back to Fidel.”[38] Rolando might be talking back to Fidel, but this would be a limiting simplification. Rather, she is appropriating a conventionally male-dominated means of mass communication to tell a story that challenges a mono-cultural regime while at the same time finding its way onto Cuban television.[39] Rolando’s documentary, through both form and content as well as through her own lens, breaks the silence not only of the massacre of 1910, but of the process of subjectification to which women and Afro-Cubans have been promulgated. Finally, Rolando speaks – as a woman, as an Afro-Cuban, to break a long-standing silence, thereby exposing and breaking apart the matrices of class, gender, sex and race in post-post-revolutionary Cuba.

End Notes

[1] Roberto Zurbano, “For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun,” The New York Times, March 23, 2013, https://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/opinion/sunday/for-blacks-in-cuba-the-revolution-hasnt-begun.html

 

[2] born Havana, Cuba, 1953

 

[3] Haseenah Ebrahim, “Afrocuban Religions in Sara Gomez’s One Way or Another and Gloria Rolando’s Oggun,” Western Journal of Black Studies 22 (Winter, 1998): 239.

 

[4] The Laws known as 1254 and 3771, passed in 1973 and 1974 respectively, define “Servicio Social,” as the service required of students who graduate from higher education or technical school. Students are required to offer services in their field of training to society for the social and economic betterment of Cuba.

 

[5] Gloria Rolando, interview with author, November 15, 2012.

 

[6] Catherine Benamou, “Cuban Cinema: On the Threshold of Gender,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies 15, no 1 (1994): 62.

 

[7] Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 62.

 

[8] Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 63.

 

[9] Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 67.

 

[10] Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 52.

[11]  Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 52.

 

[12] Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 54.

[13] Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 55.

 

[14] Flora Mandri, Guarding Cultural Memory: Afro-Cuban Women in Literature and the Arts (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006), 87.

 

[15] Mandri, Guarding Cultural Memory, 87.

 

[16] Gloria Rolando and Audrey T. McCluskey. "Filmmaker Gloria Rolando: Exploring Complex Cuban Roots." Black Camera 17 (2002): 4.

 

[17] Mandri, Guarding Cultural Memory, 88.

 

[18] “AfroCubanWeb,” accessed December 3, 2018, http://www.afrocubaweb.com/gloriarolando/Baragua.htm

 

[19] Mandri, Guarding Cultural Memory, 88.

 

[20] Mandri, Guarding Cultural Memory, 88.

 

[21] Mandri, Guarding Cultural Memory, 90.

 

[22] It is commonly known that in 1908 Estenoz founded the Indpendientes de Color. In turn, the traditionally light-skinned political majority in power banned the party two short years after its inception. Eventually the White ruling government, under the directive of President Gómez, ordered the aforementioned massacre after Estenoz’s party held an uprising against United States economic sugar interests.

 

[23] Mandri, Guarding Cultural Memory, 99.

 

[24] “AfroCubanWeb.” Accessed December 3, 2018, http://www.afrocubaweb.com/gloriarolando/Atares.htm

[25] “AfroCubanWeb.” Accessed December 2, 2018. http://www.afrocubaweb.com/gloriarolando/gloriarolando.htm

[26] Rolando and McCluskey, “Filmmaker Gloria Rolando,” 3.

 

[27] See Norma R. Guillard Limonta and Mariana Ortega Breñ, “Cuba and the Revolutionary Struggle to Transform a Sexist Consciousness: Lesbian on the Cuban Screen,” Latin American Perspectives 36, no 1 (2009): 63-71.

 

[28] Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 57.

 

[29] Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 58.

 

[30] Benamou, “Cuban Cinema,” 59.

 

[31] Stephen Heath. Questions of Cinema (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1981), 31.

[32] Jean-Louis Baudry and Alan Williams. “Ideological Effects of Basic Cinemographic Apparatus.” Film Quarterly 28, no 2 (Winter, 1974-1975): 39-47.

 

[33] John Hamer, “Letter,” American Journalism Review (December 2006-January 2007): 7.

 

[34] Eric Hershberg. “Introduction: Cuba: Salvaging Revolution.” NACLA Report on the Americas 44, no 4 (2011): 8.

 

[35] James Buckwalter-Arias, “Reinscrbing the Aesthetic: Cuban Narrative and Post-Soviet Cultural Politics,” PMLA 120, no 2 (2005): 364. The Special Period in Cuba commonly refers to the resulting economic crisis and scarcity of goods, petroleum and food on the island following the 1991 dissolution of Soviet Union. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing restructuring of the former Communist Block in Eastern Europe, Cuba lost its political and economic allies. This led to the introduction of sustainable farming, among other economic necessities, for Cuba to sustain its people and its revolution.

 

[36]Buckwalter-Arias, “Reinscrbing the Aesthetic,” 364.

 

[37] Buckwalter-Arias, “Reinscrbing the Aesthetic,” 365.

 

[38] Buckwalter-Arias, “Reinscrbing the Aesthetic,” 366.

 

[39] In a fall 2012 interview with Rolando, I asked the filmmaker about the appearance of the first chapter of this series of documentaries on national television. She responded: “Si fue una sorpresa que me llamaran para ponerme en una mesa redonda que es un espacio televisivo de discusión política, social y cultural. No solamente política. Muy importante un espacio estelar, un horario muy bueno. Yo pienso que eso fue antecedido por una mesa redonda donde también se discutió problemas raciales. Y ese documental un poco ayudaba a ilustrar la historia. Y como estamos en el centenario del Partido los Independientes de Color (PIC), es una contribución. Eso fue en el 2010.” [“Yes, it was a surprise that they called me to put me on a round table which is televised format for political, social and cultural discussion. Not only political. Very important in the time, a nicely scheduled television time. I think that this was brought on by an earlier round table where racial problems are discussed. And this documentary held a bit to illustrate the history. And since we are in the centennial of the Partido Independientes de Color (PIC) it’s a contribution. This was in 2010.”]

Bibliography

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Benamou, Catherine. “Cuban Cinema: On the Threshold of Gender.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies 15, no 1(1994): 51-75.

 

Benson, Devyn Spence. “Conflicting Legacies of Antiracism in Cuba.” NACLA Report on the Americas 49, no. 1 (March 2017): 48–55. doi:10.1080/10714839.2017.1298245.

 

Buckwalter-Arias, James. “Reinscrbing the Aesthetic: Cuban Narrative and Post-Soviet Cultural Politics,” PMLA 120, no 2 (2005): 362-74.

 

Ebrahim, Haseenah. “Afrocuban Religions in Sara Gomez’s One Way or Another and Gloria Rolando’s Oggun.” Western Journal of Black Studies 22, no. 4 (Winter 1998. 

 

Hamer, John. "Letter." American Journalism Review (December 2006-January 2007): 7.

  

Heath, Stephen. Questions of Cinema. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1981.

 

Hershberg, Eric. “Introduction: Cuba: Salvaging Revolution.” NACLA Report on the Americas 44, no 4 (2011): 8-12.

 

Limonta, Norma R. Guillard and Mariana Ortega Breña. “Cuba and the Revolutionary Struggle to Transform a Sexist Consciousness: Lesbian on the Cuban Screen.” Latin American Perspectives 36, no 1 (2009): 63-71.

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Rolando, Gloria, and Audrey T. McCluskey. "Filmmaker Gloria Rolando: Exploring Complex Cuban Roots." Black Camera 17, no. 1 (2002): 3-11. 

 

Zurbano, Roberto. “For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun.” The New York Times, March 23, 2013.   https://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/opinion/sunday/for-blacks-in-cuba-the-revolution-hasnt-begun.html