*** This in-person event is for NYU students, faculty, and staff only.
Juana Suárez, NYU Cinema Studies-MIAP
Dylon Robbins, NYU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
De cierta manera, Cuba, 1974, 80 min. Restoration by Arsenal.
Conversation on the restoration of the films and Sara Gómez’s shorts featuring:
Susan Lord, Queen’s University, Director of the Vulnerable Media Lab
Markus Ruff, Arsenal - Institute für Film und Videokunst
About the Director and her Films:
Sara Gómez (1942-1974) is a ubiquitous reference on how women participated in the first years of the Cuban Revolution and its promises. Her work attests to the seismic transformations that the Cuban Institute on Cinematographic Arts and Industry (Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos, ICAIC) brought to the island in the fields of film production, reception, and distribution by making cinema a pedagogical tool for societal transformation. Gómez is best known for her feature De cierta manera (One Way or Another, 1974), which was edited by Iván Arocha and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea with the collaboration of Rigoberto López in the wake of Gomez’s sudden death during post production at the age of forty-three. Gómez is also known for her work as assistant director on Agnès Varda’s Salut les cubains (1963). Whereas De cierta manera is a mandatory reference in the corpus of Cuban cinema and Latin American women filmmakers, despite the circulation of poor bootleg copies and low-quality versions in YouTube, little is known about the almost 20 other films that the filmmaker directed during her times as a young militant in the Cuban Revolution and her affiliation to the ICAIC for the production of educational films. These films were commissioned by the Revolution, yet Sara found a way to challenge the dictate and the criticism to patriarchy and the inability of the system to erase racism and overcome rampant machismo are constant motifs in these films, rendering many current discussions.
The program will also feature the book launch of The Cinema of Sara Gómez: Reframing the Revolution (eds. Susan Lord and María Caridad Cumaná, Indiana University Press, 2021), followed by a Q&A with the editors. This edited volume is the first complete collection of essays that focus not only on Sara Gómez but also on contextualizing her production in Havana in the 1960s. By proposing a conversation between Cuban intellectuals from different moments, US, Canadian and Cuban scholars, and also people who met Sara in different capacities, the book produces a decolonizing effect and charts a path for new types of research that can lend clarity to the complexities of Cuban intellectual history by tending to the multilayered nature of the filmmaker’s work and also to the intersectional capacities that Gómez’s public persona embodies: race, gender, and revolution.
Susan Lord is Professor of Film and Media at Queen's University, Director of the Vulnerable Media Lab and co-editor with Maria Caridad Cumana of The Cinema of Sara Gómez: Reframing Revolution (Indiana UP, 2021). The VML is restoring the documentaries of Sara Gómez and is a hub for the Archive/Counter Archive project. Recent related publications include a special issue of Public entitled Archive/CounterArchives.
Markus Ruff is the section head of the archival projects at Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art. He studied Visual Communication and Art and Media at the University of the Arts in Berlin, including a one-year study at the Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires (2002–2010). Since 2011 he is working for Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art in the framework of archival projects, including “Living Archive – Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice” (2011–2013), “Studio Gad” the digitization and preservation of the private archive holdings of the Sudanese filmmaker Gadalla Gubara” (2013, 2016), “The digital restoration of Georgian films from Arsenal‘s archive” (2016), “The installation of a film scanner at the Nigerian Film Corporation” (2016) and since 2017 “Archive außer sich”.
Juana Suárez is the Director of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program at New York University (NYU MIAP), a scholar in Latin American Cinema, and a media-preservation specialist. She is the author of Cinembargo Colombia: Critical Essays on Colombian Cinema (Spanish-language edition, 2009; English-language edition, 2012) and Sitios de contienda: Producción cultural y el discurso de la violencia (2010); the co-editor of Humor in Latin American Cinema (2015); and the Spanish language translator of A Comparative History of Latin American Cinema, by Paul A. Schroeder-Rodríguez (2020). Suárez is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Moving Images Archives, Cultural History and The Digital Turn in Latin America, and coordinating arturita.net, a collaborative digital humanities project on Latin American audiovisual archives.
This program is made possible by the Dean’s Faculty Grant, NYU Tisch School of the Arts and NYU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.