Copyright © 1999 International Development Options
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Volume One Winter 1998-Spring 1999 Numbers 3-4.
THE CUBAN FILM INDUSTRY BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
Department of Sociology
University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Published online: December 15, 2016
Cuban filmmakers must finally contend with both the art and industry of film production. While filmmakers in the rest of Latin America have had to confront this challenge all along, those in Cuba were insulated by state subsidy until the early 1990s. Since then, the Cuban film institute—Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos—(ICAIC) has moved to self-financing, exposing the Cuban film industry to the logic and vicissitudes of the market for the first time. Thus, filmmakers contend with familiar political constraints and new economic constraints as they struggle to keep the industry alive. In addition to ICAIC's institutional efforts, individual Cuban filmmakers have had to employ a variety of discursive strategies about national identity to navigate this unfamiliar terrain. This article will examine the emergence of Afro-Cuban musical traditions as an example of one discursive strategy used by Cuban filmmakers to negotiate between a rock— political constraints tied to Communism of the past—and a hard place—international market imperatives.