Past Film/Video | Classics

A Cuban Fight Against Demons

(Una pelea cubana contra los demonios, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1972)

New Restoration

A man in religious garb stands with his hands out to his sides in front of a large stone building behind a giant sword stuck in the ground.

A man born too soon is caught among demons both physical and metaphorical in this tale inspired by a real 17th century uprising. 

Set in 1672, A Cuban Fight Against Demons is a delirious historical epic centered on free-spirited landowner Juan Contreras. His eccentric lifestyle puts him at odds with the ruling “demons” that control the island: the Spanish colonial government and the Catholic Church. By mapping Cuban history, Gutiérrez Alea alludes to the political, economic, and social tensions that would seed the revolution in the 20th century: slavery, the Spanish and African roots of Cuban culture, religious hypocrisy, the oppression of women, class struggle, and more. In Spanish with English subtitles. (120 mins., 4K DCP)

Please note: A Cuban Fight Agaist Demons contains a scene of sexual assault that may be troubling for some viewers. If you are in need of resources, please contact SARNCO. The film also contains a scene of animal cruelty.

See the entire Tomás Gutiérrez Alea lineup.

A Cuban Fight Against Demons, courtesy of Cohen Film Collection.

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More about the filmmaker

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea chevron-down chevron-up

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (1928–1996) wrote and directed more than 20 features, documentaries, and short films throughout his life. Steeped in film history during his studies at Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Gutiérrez Alea pays homage in his films to the greats who inspired him, including Charlie Chaplin and Luis Buñuel. Following the Cuban revolution in 1959, and with the support of the Castro regime, he and a group of other young filmmakers founded the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC). The collective advocated for film as an art form and as the best method of disseminating revolutionary ideals to the masses. Ever dedicated to the revolution, his films nonetheless deftly critique the social, economic, and political realities of life in Cuba. 

Restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industrias Cinematográficos.

Copromotional support provided by Ohio State's Center for Latin American Studies.

National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio Humanities

Rohauer Collection Foundation

Ohio Department of Development
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Wexner Family 
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Ohio Arts Council, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts 
Ohio State’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme 
The Columbus Foundation
Axium Packaging 
Nationwide Foundation 
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

Mike and Paige Crane 
Nancy Kramer 
Ohio State Energy Partners 
Ohio History Fund/Ohio History Connection 
Larry and Donna James 
David Crane and Elizabeth Dang 
Bruce and Joy Soll 
Rebecca Perry Damsen and Ben Towle 
Jones Day 
Alex and Renée Shumate


Past Film/Video

A Cuban Fight Against Demons