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Lucía. 1968. Cuba. Directed by Humberto Solás. In Spanish; English subtitles. 160 min.
Among the most revered works of Cuban cinema, Humberto Solas’s masterful Lucia never had its premiere at the inaugural edition of New Directors/New Films in 1972 because the print failed to arrive from Cuba due to US embargoes. Forty-nine editions of ND/NF later, we’ve come full circle: Solas’s vast black-and-white triptych, about three women negotiating their oppressive circumstances at three critical moments in Cuban history—the war for independence in the 1890s, the uprising against the Machado dictatorship in the 1930s, and the post-revolutionary 1960s—remains as astonishing and immersive today as it was way back when. Produced when Solas was just in his mid-20s, Lucia was, at the time, the most expensive Cuban film ever made; a singularly lush and dialectical period epic, it endures as perhaps that national cinema’s crowning achievement.
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