Cuban films have deep roots—and are the perfect way to see a side of the island that goes beyond old-school the Buena Vista Social Club.
Movies are big in Cuba. They’re also government-endorsed—in 1959, Castro passed a law that identified film as “the most powerful and provocative form of artistic expression” And founded a national institute to nurture budding talent. Since then, local filmmakers have made a variety of internationally recognized movies, some with communist points of view and some without. Now, with travel to Cuba opening up, more U.S. visitors can enjoy works by the island’s newest crop of young artists. Catch a gritty indie film at La Fábrica de Arte Cubano, a Havana art space in a former oil factory, which screens indie films as part of its broad focus on local artists. Or go classic with a visit to Cine Yara, Havana’s famous 1,650-seat cinema, which switched from 35mm to a digital projector only this year. In December, the theater will host the International Festival of New Latin American Film, a 10-day tribute to the best and brightest in the industry. (Festival pass $45, December 3–13)
Find our cultural guide to Cuban art, literature, and film here.