Fidel between the Lines: Paranoia and Ambivalence in Late Socialist Cuban Cinema
In Fidel between the Lines Laura-Zoë Humphreys traces the changing dynamics of criticism and censorship in late socialist Cuba through a focus on cinema. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cuban state strategically relaxed censorship, attempting to contain dissent by giving it an outlet in the arts. Along with this shift, foreign funding and digital technologies gave filmmakers more freedom to criticize the state than ever before, yet these openings also exacerbated the political paranoia that has long shaped the Cuban public sphere. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, textual analysis, and archival research, Humphreys shows how Cuban filmmakers have historically turned to allegory to communicate an ambivalent relationship to the Revolution, and how such efforts came up against new forms of suspicion in the 1990s and the twenty-first century. Offering insights that extend beyond Cuba, Humphreys reveals what happens to public debate when freedom of expression can no longer be distinguished from complicity while demonstrating the ways in which combining anthropology with film studies can shed light on cinema's broader social and political import.
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