Set across three time periods in Cuba — 1895, 1932, 196.. — Lucía is the story of three different women, all named Lucía, all in love, and all involved in the revolution. In 1895, Lucía (Raquel Revuelta) is an aging spinster in love with a wealthy landowner, Rafael (Eduardo Moure), when the Cuban War of Independence takes everything she knows, has known and will ever know away. In 1932, Lucía (Eslinda Núñez) finds herself on the opposite side of the conflict when she falls for a revolutionary, Aldo (Ramón Brito), who must fight his war in the shadows. In 196.. — a cheeky nod to the ongoing struggles of the present — Lucía (Adela Legrá, pictured) is a young, uneducated bride trying to liberate herself from her conservative husband. Three periods, three revolutions, three women — each oppressed by the time in which they are born.
As Martin Scorsese points out in his introduction — his World Cinema Project helped rescue and restore the film — Lucía is the study of a society laid bare through the depiction of its women. Released in 1968, the film was Cuban filmmaker Humberto Solás’ first feature, and he managed to pour in so much the frame practically burst with guerilla aesthetics — kinetic, frenetic and exciting. Each of the three sections revolves around a love story, and each section concludes with a battle: A cavalry charge, a barrage of tommy guns and a bickering couple, respectively. Cinematographer Jorge Herrera’s imagery is second to none: Handheld camerawork, over-exposed exteriors, startling close-ups. It all works wonders. Now streaming at The Criterion Channel, available Sept. 29 in the Blu-ray/DVD box set, Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 3.