In 1959 Cuba established a high-quality cinema institute to produce feature films, documentaries, and newsreels. All movies in Cuba are under the control of the Instituto Cubano de Cinematografía (ICAIC, Calle 23 #1155, e/10 y 12, Vedado, Havana, tel. 07/831-3145, www.cubacine.cu ), the Cuban Film Institute. Much of ICAIC’s works are documentary-style movies in support of the Revolution, perfected by Santiago Álvarez (1919–1998), as in his Hasta la Victoria Siempre (1967) and Mi Hermano Fidel (1977). Perhaps the most powerful movies in the documentary-style genre is Soy Cuba (I Am Cuba), Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov’s black-and-white early-1960s Cold War agitprop made when the idealism and the promise of the Cuban Revolution were genuine.
Undoubtedly the most respected of Cuba’s filmmakers was Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (1928–1996), whose works were part of a general questioning of things—part of the New Latin American Cinema. The Film Institute granted a relative laxity to directors such as Gutiérrez, who was instrumental in its formation and whose populist works are of an irreverent picaresque genre. For example, his 1966 La muerte de un burócrata (Death of a Bureaucrat) was a satire on the stifling bureaucracy imposed after the Revolution; and Memorias del subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment), made in 1968, traced the life of a bourgeois intellectual adrift in the new Cuba.
Gutiérrez’s finest film is Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate), released in 1994. The poignant and provocative movie, set in Havana  during the repressive heyday of 1979, explores the nettlesome friendship between a flagrant homosexual and a macho Party member, reflecting the producer’s abiding questioning of the Revolution to which he was nonetheless always loyal.
Humberto Solas (born 1941) is another leading director within the New Latin American genre. His Lucía (1969), which tells the tale of three women of that name living in different epochs, is considered a classic of feminist sensitivity. Most recently, his Miel para Oshun (Honey for Oshun, 2001) addresses the story of exiled Cubans returning to the island. As a tale of loss, longing, and rediscovery the movie is a visceral, moving examination of the emotional scars created by the Revolution in Cuba.
Another leading Cuban director is Juan Carlos Tabío (born 1944), who follows in the traditional of Alea, with whom he co-directed Guantanamera, a farcical parody on Communist bureaucracy, told through the tale of a cortege attempting to return a body to Havana  for burial. Tabío’s Lista de espera (The Waiting List, 2000), another magical-realist whimsy, aims its arrow at the dire state of transportation in Cuba, focusing on a group of disparate Cubans waiting in vain for a bus, eventually transforming the bus station into a kind of socialist utopia in which they themselves find transformation.
The annual International Festival of New Latin American Cinema (www.habanafilmfestival.com ), better known as the Havana Film Festival , is held each December, and the Festival Internacional de Cine Pobre (International Low-Budget Film Festival, www.cubacine.cu/cinepobre ) is held in April.