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Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2050-4837
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4845



This article proposes that the ‘poetic’ be conceived as an interpretative category for Santiago Álvarez’s film experimentalism. The poetic nature of Álvarez’s cinema includes the use of poems, metaphors, songs, still photography and found footage and a ‘poetic’ approach to documentary, characterized by non-discursive forms such as music, the absence of conventional narration and narrative forms, a dynamic editing of visual and aural associations and juxtapositions, and an emphasis on the film’s rhythm. By analysing these patterns in films made between 1965 and 1970 and by discussing the concepts of urgency, empathy and performativity, I argue that Álvarez’s experimentalism aims to create a new type of critical and revolutionary public. In this sense, he supports and follows the official cultural policy of the Revolution and the politics of other cultural practices, such as revolutionary poetry and Cuban posters. The poetic nature of his films is, however, ambivalent since it coexists with what can be seen as the anti-poetic par excellence: the narrative.


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