Review: De Cierta Manera

I very much enjoyed De Cierta Manera (One Way or Another). It was shown at Leeds City Varieties as part of Cinema Rediscovered on Tour. The screening was a collaboration between the Black Cinema Project, Twelve 30 Collective, Ajabu Ajabu, the Hyde Park Picture House and the Friends. We had an excellent live introduction given by Lisa Harewood.

Film was seen as an essential aspect of Cuban culture when De Cierta Manera was released by their revolutionary government in 1974. Filming took place over four months in a “marginalised” Havana community, drawing heavily on the experience of local people. It takes the form of an entertaining romance between two charismatic actors, a woman teacher and a macho man in who works in a bus factory. It is documentary in style and reflects how the 1959 revolution started to influence culture and personal relationships. Sadly the talented director, Sara Gómez, died of a chronic illness just after filming was completed. At the time she was Cuba’s only woman film director, and of Afro-Cuban heritage. However the Cuban leadership of the time wanted to promote their practical achievements such as in housing, employment and health rather than stories about community and women’s issues, and the film was rarely shown. It was digitally restored in 2021 and is well worth a look if you get the chance.

Bill Walton

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