Espinosa, Julio García


Julio García Espinosa is a leading facilitator of Cuban cinema. As both film theorist and director, Espinosa has been praised by critics for his integral role in what critics have called the golden decade of Cuban cinema. This work includes his 1969 manifesto “For an Imperfect Cinema,” which helped to define the scope of all Latin American film.


Born in Havana in 1926, he received his education in filmmaking at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome from 1951 to 1954. Espinosa returned to Cuba and worked in film and radio, eventually becoming one of the founding members of the world-renowned Instituto Cubano de las Artes e Industrias (ICAIC).


Espinosa co-directed films with Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, including the short documentary El Mégano about the miserable existence of carboneros. The film was banned by the Batista dictatorship. He also collaborated on scripts for Jorge Fraga, Manuel Octavio Gómez, Humberto Solás, and in 2006 the Argentina-born Fernando Berri.


Espinosa’s films reflect his broad interests, education and experience. His Fellini-like Las aventuras de Juan Quin Quin parodied past cinematic styles and was at the time the most successful Cuban film ever made. It was also described as a high point in his search for a new form of politically committed film. During the Vietnam War, Espinosa traveled over 2,500 miles through the war zone to film the feature-length documentary Tercer mundo, tercera guerra mundial. His special interest in Cuban popular music, which he described as the nation’s strongest cultural expression, was an inspiration for his cabaret film Son o no son.


From 1982 until 1990, Espinosa served as director of the Havana International Latin American Film Festival. In this role, he supported many Latin American filmmakers struggling to work outside of commercial film industries. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2002 by Concordia University in Montreal.

Festivals & Awards:

2002 Honorary doctorate from Concordia University in Montreal


1998 Enredando sombras (Entangling Shadows, doc.)
1994 Reina y Rey (Queen and King)
1993 El plano (The Plan)
1989 La inútil muerte de mi socio Manolo (The Useless Death of My Pal, Manolo)
1978 Son o no son (Be or Not to Be)
1977 De cierta manera (One Way or Another, doc.)
1977 La sexta parte del mundo (The Sixth Part of the World, doc.)
1970 Tercer mundo, tecera guerra mundial (Third World, Third World War, doc.)
1967 Las aventuras de Juan Quin Quin (The Adventures of Juan Quin Quin)
1961 El joven rebelde (The Young Rebel)
1960 Cuba baila (Cuba Dances)
1955 El Mégano (Mégano)

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