Cuba in the late 1800s: After overpowering their Spanish masters, cimarrons – runaway African slaves – hide in settlements in the eastern mountains of Cuba. But discord is sown by traitorous elements secretly working for the Spanish.
Maluala is the last of the “historically lucid” (Village Voice) trilogy of films about Cuba’s slave uprisings made by Sergio Giral. One of Cuba's best-known directors, Giral dedicated most of his oeuvre to telling the story of Caribbean history and Afro-Cuban culture.
This last part of the “slavery trilogy” was awarded the Grand Coral prize at the 1979 Havana Film Festival.
(This film is ONLY available for sale on DVD and for research rentals. It may not be rented for a non-commercial public performance screening.)
— BAMcinématek, 2006
“Maluala is the most striking addition to this genre and a prizewinner at the first Festival of New Latin American Cinema held in Cuba earlier this year. … Giral has mounted Maluala with colorful ritual and the acting, particularly Samuel Claxton as Gallo, is highly stylized in the heroic tradition. It is an absorbing adventure film wrought from historical events which appear exotic and violent, but Giral constantly implants into every image the necessity for unity among people in order to combat man’s seemingly casual desire to subjugate mankind in the struggle for power and undefined ambition.”
— Albert Johnson, San Francisco Film Festival, 1980
“The historically lucid intrigues of Maluala (1979), where the Afrocentric leadership of fugitive palenque communities is pitted against each other COINTELPRO-style by Spanish colonists, is one of those Cuban films that were forged in a righteous, red-hot ferment but still found the courage and wit to ask questions about the society around them.”
— Gary Dauphin, The Village Voice
- El Mégano (Dir. Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1955)