Time ‘Out of Joint’: Icons, Images, and Archives



This chapter examines creative cinematic responses to the pervasive presence of the past in contemporary Cuba. It focuses on Fernando Pérez’s unusual period piece or ‘biopic’, José Martí: El ojo del canario (2010), which attempts to humanise the iconic independence fighter by presenting him as a child, and Jorge Perugorría’s Se vende (2012), which adopts a more ironic, postmodern perspective on the personal and national pasts. Calling on Barthes, Lacan, and Derrida’s and ideas about photography, spectres, traces, melancholy, and mourning, this chapter argues that these films deliver affective injunctions, playing with the image’s fetishistic power that stands in for that which it simultaneously recreates as absent or dead. Informed by Svetlana Boym’s distinction between ‘restorative’ and ‘reflective’ nostalgias (2001), it shows how these very different films effectively recycle history in order to facilitate survival, combining new with old in a differential repetition that attests to the vitality of Cuban culture.


Contemporary Cuba Cuban Culture Restorative Nostalgia Reflective Nostalgia Anterior Future 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Works Cited

  1. Assmann, Aleida. 2011. Canon and Archive. In The Collective Memory Reader, ed. Jeffrey K. Olick, Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi, and Daniel Levy, 334–337. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bach, Jonathan. 2002. “The Taste Remains”: Consumption, (N)ostalgia, and the Production of East Germany. Public Culture 14 (3): 545–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barthes, Roland. 1981. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.Google Scholar
  4. Bejel, Emilio. 2012. José Martí: Images of Memory and Mourning. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Benjamin, Walter. 1999a. Theses on the Philosophy of History. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt and trans. Harry Zorn, 245–255. London: Pimlico.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1999b. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt and trans. Harry Zorn, 211–235. London: Pimlico.Google Scholar
  7. Bhabha, Homi. 1994. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Boothby, Richard. 2013. The Lost Cause of Mourning. Continental Philosophy Review 46 (2): 209–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boym, Svetlana. 2001. The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  10. Caballero, Rufo. 2011. La cubanidad no acabada. Circunstancias de nacimiento de una obra mayor en la cinematografía nacional. In José Martí: El ojo del canario, un filme de Fernando Pérez, ed. Carlos Velazco, 132–157. La Habana: Ediciones ICAIC.Google Scholar
  11. Castro, Fidel. 1953. La historia me absolverá. October 16. Available at
  12. Castro, Raúl. 2013. Raúl en los 60 del Moncada: Preservar por encima de todo la unidad de los cubanos dignos. Santiago de Cuba, July 27. Available at
  13. Daumont Robles, Lysbeth. 2011. Con José Martí ante la mar tempestuosa. Lysbeth Daumont Robles, January 28.
  14. Davis, Colin. 2005. Hauntology, Spectres and Phantoms. French Studies 59 (3): 373–379. Scholar
  15. Davis, Fred. 2011. Yearning for Yesterday: A Sociology of Nostalgia. In The Collective Memory Reader, ed. Jeffrey K. Olick, Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi, and Daniel Levy, 446–451. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. de Águila, Rafael. 2010. Fernando Pérez y el canario amarillo de ojo tan negro. La Jiribilla, April 23.
  17. de la Nuez, Iván. 1992. Occidente y periferia: La cuerda floja y la cadena perpetua. Plural (July): 52–55. Google Scholar
  18. del Río, Joel. 2010. Martí eterno y excelso, en carne y hueso. La Jiribilla, April 23.
  19. ———. 2011. Con los ojos fijos en la altura. In José Martí: El ojo del canario, un filme de Fernando Pérez, ed. Carlos Velazco, 126–131. La Habana: Ediciones ICAIC.Google Scholar
  20. Derrida, Jacques. 1977. Signature, Event, Context, trans. Samuel Weber and Jeffrey Mehlman. Glyph: Johns Hopkins Textual Studies 1: 172–197.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 2006. Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International, trans. Peggy Kamuf. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Fehimović, Dunja. 2016. José Martí, “A Cult Hero.” Dunja Fehimovic Talks to Ernesto Sánchez Valdés. Cuba Counterpoints, November 2.
  23. Fernando Pérez renuncia como director de la Muestra Joven. 2013. Inter Press Service en Cuba, February 13.
  24. Freud, Sigmund. 1991. Mourning and Melancholia. In On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis, vol. 11, ed. Angela Richards and trans. James Strachey, 245–268. The Penguin Freud Library. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  25. Fukuyama, Francis. 2006. The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Simon and Schuster. Google Scholar
  26. González, Espitia, and Juan Carlos. 2009. Deep and Hidden Pain: Martí’s Testicular Cancer. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 18 (1): 55–72. Scholar
  27. González, Marianela. 2010. Entrevista Con Fernando Pérez: “Me quedé con el Martí que siente en su pecho el mundo”. La Jiribilla, April 17.
  28. Gutiérrez Alea, Tomás. 1966. La muerte de un burócrata. Film.Google Scholar
  29. Hirsch, Marianne. 1997. Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hutcheon, Linda. 1998. Irony, Nostalgia, and the Postmodern. University of Toronto English Library. Available at
  31. Huyssen, Andreas. 2003. Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Iglesias Rodríguez, Maikel. 2013. Cuba en subasta. Jorge Perugorría Blogspot, August 28.
  33. Ivy, Marilyn. 1995. Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasms, Japan. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jameson, Fredric. 1998. The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern 1983–1998. London and New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  35. Kapcia, Antoni. 2000. Cuba: Island of Dreams. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  36. Khatib, Sami. 2010. Walter Benjamin, Karl Marx and the Specter of the Messianic: Is There a Materialist Politics of Remembrance? In III Seminario Internacional: Políticas de la Memoria, Recordando a Walter Benjamin: Justicia, historia y verdad. [online] Buenos Aires. Available at Accessed 15 Mar 2018.
  37. López, Alfred J. 2006. José Martí and the Future of Cuban Nationalisms. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.Google Scholar
  38. Lyotard, Jean-François. 1984. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  39. Martínez Heredia, Fernando. 1998. In the Furnace of the Nineties: Identity and Society in Cuba Today. Boundary 2 29 (3): 137–147.
  40. ———. 2011. Ante el ojo del canario. In José Martí: El ojo del canario, un filme de Fernando Pérez, ed. Carlos Velazco, 158–163. La Habana: Ediciones ICAIC.Google Scholar
  41. Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels. [1848] 1986. The Manifesto of the Communist Party. In The Essential Left: Five Classic Texts on the Principles of Socialism, 2nd ed., ed. David McLellan and trans. Samuel Moore, 16–53. London: Unwin Paperbacks.Google Scholar
  42. Massip, José. 1971. Páginas del diario de José Martí. Film.Google Scholar
  43. Massumi, Brian. 2010. The Future Birth of the Affective Fact: The Political Ontology of Threat. In The Affect Theory Reader, ed. Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth, 52–70. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Mulvey, Laura. 2006. Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image. London: Reaktion Books. Google Scholar
  45. Nora, Pierre. 1989. Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire. Representations, 26 (April): 7–24. Scholar
  46. Oberacker, J. Scott. 2008. Affecting the Embargo: Displacing Politics in the Buena Vista Social Club. Popular Communication 6 (2): 53–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ortiz, Fernando. [1940] 1995. Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar, trans. Harriet de Onís. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  48. ———. 2014. The Human Factors of Cubanidad, trans. João Felipe Gonçalves and Gregory Duff Morton. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4 (3): 445–480.Google Scholar
  49. Pérez, Fernando. 2010. José Martí: El ojo del canario. Film.Google Scholar
  50. ———. 2014. La pared de las palabras. Film.Google Scholar
  51. ———. 2016. Últimos días en La Habana. Film.Google Scholar
  52. Perugorría, Jorge. 2012. Se vende. Film.Google Scholar
  53. Quiroga, José. 2005. Cuban Palimpsests. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  54. Rivero, Mónica. 2014. Fernando Pérez: Nosotros queremos una Ley de cine. Progreso Semanal, May 2.
  55. Rojas, Rafael. 2011. La máquina del olvido: Mito, historia y poder en Cuba. México, D.F.: Taurus.Google Scholar
  56. Sánchez, Yoani. 2013. Se Vende: El Pasado a Remate. El País, August 5.
  57. Santos Cabrera, Kaloian, and Alina Perera. 2010. Fernando Pérez: Yo pienso que hay muchos Martí en Cuba. Juventud rebelde, April 24.
  58. Senft, Terri. n.d. Close Readings: Specters of Marx. The Days and Nights of Terri Senft.
  59. Velazco, Carlos (ed.). 2011. José Martí: el ojo del canario, un filme de Fernando Pérez. La Habana: Ediciones ICAIC.Google Scholar
  60. Wike, Lori. 2000. Photographs and Signatures: Absence, Presence, and Temporality in Barthes and Derrida. Invisible Culture, January 15. Available at
  61. Žižek, Slavoj. 2002. Welcome to the Desert of the Real. London: Verso.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Modern LanguagesNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

Personalised recommendations