La Novia de Cuba

Friday, February 18, 2022 - 7:00pm

Kazuo Kuroki’s La novia de Cuba is the earliest international collaboration between Cuba and Japan in the aftermath of the revolution. The film tells the story of a Japanese sailor who falls in love with a local conscript in Havana, with whom he travels across the country while negotiating their respective roles within the revolutionary process. Filmed three months after the death of Che Guevara, it creatively intertwines tributes to the fallen guerrillero; on-location filmmaking from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, surrealist asides and experimentations, and newsreel footage of the island’s political upheaval. Burdened by the expectation of a revolutionary tribute, Kuroki’s film was rejected by the Japanese New Left upon its exhibition at student film clubs and, for reasons unknown, was not screened in Cuba until 2011. Seen today not as a failed export or eulogy, La novia de Cuba endures as a piece of revolutionary marginalia—a minor feature after a momentous 1968 in Cuban cinema, but one that nevertheless offers its belated audience a sharp insight into the resonances and limits of each nation’s coeval internationalist projects. Curated by Pedro Noel Doreste (CMS) as part of the Film Studies Center’s Graduate Student Curatorial Program. Special thanks to Ayako Yoshimura for her assistance with translation. 

(Kazuo Kuroki, Japan/Cuba, 1969, 98 min., 35mm courtesy of National Film Archive of Japan)

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