Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (1928-1996) was a Cuban filmmaker, screenwriter, and film director who played a significant role in the development of the Cuban film industry. He was born in Havana, Cuba and began his career as a writer and journalist before turning to filmmaking.
In the 1950s, Alea became a member of the “New Latin American Cinema” movement, which aimed to create a distinct national cinema that would reflect the reality of Latin American life. He made his directorial debut in 1959 with the film “Hasta cierto punto” (Up to a Point), which was well received by critics and audiences alike.
Throughout his career, Alea directed over 20 films, many of which dealt with themes of race, class, and politics in Cuba. He is considered one of the most important and influential Cuban filmmakers of all time. Some of his notable films are “Memorias del subdesarrollo” (Memories of Underdevelopment), a film that explores the life of a man who chooses to stay in Cuba after the revolution, and “La muerte de un burócrata” (The Death of a Bureaucrat), a political satire that tells the story of a man who goes to great lengths to ensure that his deceased uncle is given a proper burial.
Alea’s works have been praised for their ability to capture the reality of life in Cuba, and have been shown in festivals around the world. He received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including the National Prize for Cinematographic Art and the Ariel Award for Best Director. He passed away in 1996, his legacy lives on through his films and the impact he had on the Latin American film industry.