The Cultural Prism Of A Decade, A Look At 60

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The cultural prism of a decade, a look at 60

The year 1959 arrived, a revolution broke into the Latin American stage, initiating the greatest process of cultural decolonization ever remembered in Latin America. The triumph of the Cuban revolution on January 1, 1959, would put a nationalist discourse in the voice of silence, the repair of the injustices of previous centuries: illiteracy, corruption, unemployment, racism, lack of medical services will leadThe first steps of that maelstrom that perpetuated a before and after in history. It seemed that the roads bifurcan when the island gave clues to a new political reality that transformed the field of culture .

The new revolutionary event stepped on a movement, the social transformation of the old regime. He shook the arts, letters, earth, the way of saying, painting, composing, until the way of dressing. A true re -foundation of Cuban culture was registered in 1959. In the perspective of Fidel Castro the Cuban revolution meant a deep cultural revolution . The cultural revolution that raised curiosity in the world of 60, a universe marked by the end of decolonization in Africa, Latin American guerrillas, feminist movements that fought for a complete insertion of women in all spheres of a society, theBoom of Latin American novelistics, in the plastic arts, in Unisex fashion, in music where Bob Dylan and The Beatles stood out.

Events that constitute ruptures of the old ways of operating in a society, some coincide over time, others are strengthened under the mantle of the Cuban revolution and some break the geographical walls. In Cuba, an aesthetic was created that proliferated in the world of the 60s, the use of firearms, progress in racial conceptions, the transformation of the family institution, the passage of an elitist culture to a popular culture, themedia at the service of premature revolution.

The 1968 World Cultural Revolution Fernand Braudel presents it as a "deep and radical cultural mutation" only comparable to the Renaissance or Reform, hence every cultural revolution is first and foremost a demolition of what existed before . Consider the Cuban revolution a cultural fact in itself and at the same time a cultural revolution is not paradoxical. Removing the bases of the ancient bourgeois culture leads the path of the first years of the triumph of 1959, bankruptcy the political myopia of the Latin American states, the press, the media and the civil associations of the prerevolutionary culture that break the way to theCreation of the new institutions of the Revolution. To some extent, the revolution can issue a new modelic culture for the continent, when trying to influence beyond the borders of our island. Latin America was a dry meadow and Cuba would be the spark that would set it on fire.

The Cuban revolutionary watershed, inaugurates from 1959 a renovating project of the entire previous culture. The achievements are palpated during the 60s more clearly, the Union of writers and artists of Cuba (UNEAC), the Cinemateca de Cuba, Casa de las Américas and the National Council of Culture with its management team by artistic and cultural areas. The National Ballet Company of Cuba led by dancer Alicia Alonso, created since the 50s, promoted a megaproject for the construction of art schools to the west of Havana, in order to promote revolutionary popular art.

The Cultural Project of the Revolution during the 60s procured an institutional development in the area of culture that facilitated the rest of social transformations. The literacy campaign is key to understanding the dynamics of operation of the revolutionary society, this achievement marks the daily life of the new society. "Pencil, card, manual", will make the prerevolutionary individual a town with a revolutionary social ideal, capable of admiring works of art, cinema, the new revolutionary novel, the olive green uniform or humming the songs of the new trova. The National Folkloric Ensemble, together with the National Choir and the Modern Dance as a whole, are born to the revolutionary heat, the rescue of the Cuban roots and the true revolutionary artistic sense are part of their work.

The revolutionary cinema created a renovating institution of the policies of the Old Regime, the Cuban Institute of Art and Cinematographic Industries (ICAIC) made a presence in the new scenario. This institution, a pioneer in the cultural transformations of the time, tried an ambitious project beyond the mere film production, the dissemination of the revolutionary ideal, given its massive character. Intended the development and deepening of revolutionary culture.

Culture, as an expression of social relations was called to be the reflection, from its artistic manifestations, of the deconstruction of old cultural practices and the construction of the new manifestations creative of national culture. In this sense, the incorporation of the artists and intellectuals of the generation of 50 to the new revolutionary policy during 1959 and 1961 was a controversial scenario facing the cultural revolution. There was a daily change in the ways of making art, of writing the revolution, of dramatizing the revolutionary episode, poetry was filled with reality, popular dances filled the empty space, the neo -realistic cinema shuddered the screen and the Cuban world of filledof colors.

MONDAY OF REVOLUTION AND TODAY were cultural supplements created to the fervor of the revolution, embodied in its pages a new revolutionary generation. These publications become the spokesman for a significant part of Cuban writers and artists. Monday became one of the first publications of the novel revolutionary movement, promoting new conceptions on the cultural level. Its pages were echo of beginner writers, artists and intellectuals of various schools of thought that were little recognized in the Cuban field.

The nascent revolutionary state strives to link the work of writers and artists to the ambitious projects of the Revolution, symbolizing achievements in different cultural manifestations, reaffirming national identity and revaluing Cuban cultural tradition. A network of libraries, museums, culture houses, theatrical facilities and art schools are installed throughout the island. The creation of the National Editorial of Cuba facilitates the edition of books, brochures and magazines, also commits to the printed reproduction of works of art. This institution forms a connection network between the culture and education that promotes a popular access scenario in the latter. The Cuban Institute of the Book opens a significant cultural gap in the Cuban stage that exceeds its borders, the book fairs show an artistic situation that joins writers from here and there and the brigade of young artists and writers “Brothers Saíz” gives loose reinsto the cultural movement of the new generations.

Cuban society and their culture turned radically at the revolutionary phenomenon of January 1, 1959. The establishment of equality policies, the massification of culture, mass access to social rights modified cultural production codes in the daily life of Cubans of the twentieth century. A pregnant scenario of revolutions complied with the order to replace the old for the new, maintaining the roots of Cubanity to the sound of a new cultural life, the new song, the new trova, the new revolutionary novel and the new man.

To be born again. A new cultural life in the 60.

The culture of the 60s in Cuba is acquiring a revolutionary symbology in each of its manifestations. A culture without the policy schematizing ways of acting or thinking, the original creation of a society that transforms its capitalist canons letting act without limits, a libertarian culture that represented Cuban culture erased by foreign, Spanish or north American policies. Recreating the panorama of the first steps of the cultural revolution is an interwoven exercise of lights and shadows. First hegemonize the cultural process based on the revolution, then converge artists and writers on the same side and finally make mass awareness and promote a popular culture. This complex scenario will witness the freedom of creation, without an ideology rather than the revolutionary transformation and the fusion of prerevolutionary and revolutionary cubania.

The era gave birth to a heart, a revolution that gave voice to those who could not sing. The movement of the new trova put note to a new song, heiress of the Trovadorza Cuban tradition, began to sing the new reality, the "political or protest song" emerged, young people who emerged to the heat of the revolutionary process, Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo MilanésNoel Nicola, Pedro Luis Ferrer and Sara González. As the Cuban revolutionary process was radicalized, the repertoire of the troubadours was in crescendo, incorporating new themes. In the beginning, the intentions of their lyrics were misrepresented, it meant the mixture of other genres such as jazz and rock a foreign symbol that generated some tensions with the nascent Cuban state.

Inserts in the movement of the new song in Latin America, the movement of the new Cuban trova filled spaces in the American continent. Many Latin American singer -songwriters expressed to nourish this inspiring source, Víctor Suárez Poet . The Cuban revolution became a paradigm when narrated by the lyrics of Silvio, Pablo, Sara and Nicola.

An event would be key to catalyze the Unit of Latin American Voices, the house of the Americas claims the I International Meeting of the Song Protest from July 24 to August 8, 1967, creators from 17 countries and 4 continents converge. Thought is radicalized by acclaiming the "Song Protest" as a weapon to defend the people and not an instrument of consumption for capitalism. The meeting left a series of guidelines that based the objectives of struggle on the song stage, support for the black struggle in the United States for its social rights and inclusion, the voice in favor of the student movement that was generated in the capitalist countries andagainst the unfair war in Vietnam.

The clash between the old and the new is a constant in the cultural process, in music they mixed, the danzón, the conga, the mambo, the rumba and the cha cha chá with the blues, the jazz and the rock givingAs a result, new sound orchestras, Juan Formel and Los Van Van, Pacho Alonso and Los Pachucos, replacing the previous bands of Benny Moré or Celia Cruz and the Sonora Matancera, the latter welcomed exile. It was customary to hear in the revolutionary radial stations rhythms such as Pilón, by Enrique Bonne and Pacho Alonso, Mozambique de Pello El Afrokán. Orchestras singing melodies that give meaning to the revolutionary context, Moncada, Mayohuacán, the original of Manzanillo, formed in the Cuban provinces, a sign of the cultural impact of the revolution on the national stage.

The Cuban beater of the 60s was revolutionized by the Movement of Filin starring José Antonio Méndez, César Portillo de la Luz, Elena Burke, Omara Portuondo. A new way of conducting the voice, dramatized, exaggerated, a nourished bolero of fusion with jazz, but rhythmically very Cuban.

The revolutionary government promoted the development of cinema from its first steps. The birth of the Institute of Art and Cinematographic Industries (ICAIC) a daughter company of the Revolution to direct the public to the demand, activity, criticism and therefore to revolutionary training. Thomas Gutiérrez Alea said that cinema as a manifestation of the culture of a people, is the most committed activity with interests outside of culture. Therefore, it is the activity that has more crudely reflected the real factors of a society. The ideology, which was not yet defined by the revolution for the beginning of the 60s, was a calve symbol of expression through cinema, Cuban filmmakers like Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Humberto Solás, Pastor Vega, Santiago Álvarez,They fulfilled the revolutionary role objectified to the big screen, to legitimize a new social system under the veil of a new film art. In addition, bureaucratic and dogmatic criticisms of socialist experiences, which brought with it a reconfiguration of aesthetic norms in film production and the rejection of subsequent film products were given. A cinema stripped of foreign and alienation objects, a realistic and revolutionary cinema that shows the new Cuban reality in changing daily life.

The visibility for many young filmmakers came with January 1, 1959, in the old regime his work was minimized, this opportunity allowed them to expand their audience beyond the elites of power and transcend a town stripped of ignorance, capable of enjoyingand internalize the symbols of the big screen. The cinematographic rooms were filled in those years to applaud films such as underdevelopment memories, the twelve chairs, the last dinner, portrait of Teresa, Girón, Long live the Republic!, The man of Maisinicú or the Brigadist, the people admired the work of the actors, directors and screenwriters. The access of all audiences to the cinema quantified the effort of the revolution to make the seventh art massive, with manageable prices for all social sectors.

In cinematographic statistics between 1968 and 1975, production reflected 38 feature films, 257 documentaries, 50 cartoons and 355 news, in addition to 146 international awards, show of the quality and artistic success with which the Cuban cinema of the revolution was welcomed. The work of the new revolutionary cinema covers schools that go beyond the mere film product, the Sonora Experimentation Group was created, which grouped the most influential musicians of the time, directed by Leo Bruwer, the study and development of creation of creation were plannedmusical inserted in cinema. The Cuban revolution had achieved innovative expressions of visual arts especially in the poster and cinematographic documentary.

The old capitalist society of the 50s had put in the fence the most prestigious writers of the time, many of them based abroad or others outside the state cultural space. This intellectuality composed of writers and artists such as Cintio Vitier, Lezama Lima, Eliseo Diego, Fina García Marruz, René Portocarrero, Virgilio Piñera, Nicolás Guillén and Alejo Carpentier remained outside the revolutionary leadership of the July 26 Movement and the Rebel Army. In the effervescence of the first revolutionary years these figures showed a feeling of guilt that did not let them act, in the case of Virgilio Piñera on one occasion transmits to the leader Fidel Castro that the writers were the last “letter of the deck”, which they shouldAccept that they did nothing for the revolution, not because irresponsibility but because the writer at the time of the dictatorship did not exist . This tendency to be judged by the writer for his non -revolutionary activity will cultivate broad controversies in the intellectual field of the 60s. Intellectuals, artists and writers constituted the most recurring sector to the call to collaborate with revolutionary political leadership in this ideological and cultural task.  

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