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The Appeal of the 'Old School': From De cierta manera/ One Way or Another (1974) to Conducta/ Behaviour (2014)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Dunja Fehimovic



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Intellect, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This article compares the critical perspectives on society, education and morality found in Sara Gómez’s classic De cierta manera/One Way or Another (1974) and Ernesto Daranas’ more recent Conducta/Behaviour (2014). Considering the films’ engagement with cinematic traditions from Italian neo-realism to melodrama, it argues that Conducta displays a return to a cinematic ‘old school’ in terms of its emotional appeal, its focus on a transcendent individual and its tendency to turn the social and physical context into aesthetically-appealing backdrop. Given the overdetermination of both children and teachers in Cuba’s history, the analysis shows the conversion of Daranas’ teacher, Carmela, into a sanctified, syncretic heroine, and her pupil, Chala, into a choteo-imbued, macho, miniature Hombre Nuevo/new man. Thus, the critical, imperfect and collective qualities of Gómez’s rapidly transforming revolutionary society are displaced in Daranas’ film by a melancholy aesthetic, a quasi-sacred aura and a coercive kind of care. The problem, therefore, does not necessarily lie in this film’s use of ‘old-school’ narrative techniques, but rather in their deployment to cement values of ‘authentic’ revolutionary spirit and ‘true’ cubanía – in other words, to reinforce the appeal of the ‘old school’.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fehimovic D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas

Year: 2017

Volume: 14

Issue: 2

Pages: 133-152

Online publication date: 22/10/2017

Acceptance date: 01/07/2017

Date deposited: 02/11/2017

ISSN (print): 2050-4837

ISSN (electronic): 2050-4845

Publisher: Intellect


DOI: 10.1386/slac.14.2.133_1


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