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Film Studies: “Breaking the Silence” by Gloria Rolando Essay

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Updated: Mar 21st, 2020

Gloria Rolando produced the movie, “1912, Breaking the Silence”. The movie elucidates the history of the political party, Partido Independiente de Color (PIC), which initiated a major struggle to achieve racial equality in Cuba. The members of the PIC suffered at the hands of the Cuban authorities, as there was a massacre of several blacks.

The movie is the result of substantial archival research conducted by Rolando. The Cubans have shown considerable interest in the movie, as it provided information regarding the sacrifices made by Afrocuban leaders. For several years, the media overlooked the event. The authorities claimed to protect racial and economic equality in the country. The documentary encompasses numerous photographs, images, and interviews of notable personalities, who had participated in the movement.

The leaders of this movement had participated in the Cuban War of Independence in 1902. The movie gives information regarding black leaders, who aspired to achieve equality between blacks and whites in the country. Viewers are informed regarding the role of black leaders such as Estenoz and Ivonnet in this event. The Afro-Cuban leaders established PIC to articulate their views concerning racial and economic inequality.

The leaders were able to inspire blacks to participate in this movement. Obviously, Afrocubans deserved an important position in society and government. The documentary shows that black leaders were discontented with the government policies. Consequently, they insisted on a pro-black policy. This led to clashes between the government and Afrocuban leaders. The documentary describes disappointment, struggle, and sacrifices of the black leaders in the country.

The movie is important, as it discloses various issues that were earlier overlooked by the media. For example, in the early 20th century, the voice of Afrocubans was suppressed. Interestingly, it took almost a hundred years to reveal the distress of Afrocuban leaders. The title “Breaking the Silence” is apt, as it reveals that for several years Afrocubans could not break their silence. By producing the movie, Gloria Rolando has attempted to ‘break’ the silence of Afrocubans.

She encourages Cubans to express their views concerning racial inequality. Cuban leaders and American scholars have offered their views about the movement. This implies that during this period, Americans and Cubans exchanged a few ideas. The film demonstrates that racial inequality is perceptible not only in the U.S. but also in Cuba. Racial inequality is also represented in terms of economic and social inequality. For example, blacks may be deprived of quality healthcare facilities.

They may lack opportunities to improve their educational qualifications. As they lack education, blacks do not obtain employment. The government needs to respond to this reality. The government can initiate measures to mitigate inequality between whites and blacks in education and employment sectors. A few limitations of the movie may be mentioned. For example, it exaggerates the role of the leaders who assumed a central position in the event.

At the same time, the movie has disregarded the contribution of ordinary Afrocubans to the movement. The producer of the documentary needs to study oral sources, which could represent the views of ordinary Afrocubans. It is also important to note a few regional differences. For example, racism did not prevail in black-dominated regions. On the other hand, one may perceive racism in white-dominated regions.

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