Solás's Lucía (1968) has thematic concern with the decolonization process in Cuba in its approach to showing the processes that generate social problems while leaving the resolution open to the "active" viewer.
Let me attempt to get this right. The film is divided (sometimes very slowly) into three episodes in the lives of three Cuban women, each named Lucía, from three different historical periods: 1895 Cuban war of independence (with Spain), the 1930's (Machado's fall), and the 1960's (beginning of the Cuban Revolution).
Solás uses different sets of actors and distinct cinematic styles for the three historical stories. Each Lucía belongs to a different social class–aristocracy, middle to upper middle class, and what looks to be the rural peasant class before the revolution.
Each Lucía thus lives in a period of great political and social change which inevitably and profoundly affect her private life. A love story serves as the basic plot outline for the unfolding of the three parts, and each Lucía's circumstances and choices are related to a love affair and/or marriage with a man.
For me, when character studies are a strong combination of story and visual imagery, I'm intrigued. The style of each segment is distinctive and appropriate both to the tale and to evoking the epoch.
The first has a phenomenal conversation scene in the woods, with a tree acting as the third ear. The secret lovers are each on one side of the tree, with Solás filming each actor with the tree as stand-in for the recipient of the words–see the pic above. Once Lucía is betrayed, the entire style turns to lighting with harsh black and white contrasts. Overall the camera movement is dreamy, almost listless, and the acting is melodramatic. It ends with a delirious camera spin as Lucía finds a commonality with the despised madwoman of the streets.
The second has a tense thriller rhythm and a bias toward interior shots that reflect the protagonist's chafing at confining of her action; it ends in a stunned freeze frame that suspends the action and her possibilities. Here's it's not the camera that's listless, it's the actress.
The third is sun-filled, coarse and rowdy. This tale too ends unresolved, with the camera circling the endlessly-fighting couple from above. The film ends with a metaphorical shot, of a little girl in a white shift running free toward the landscape.
While watching the film, I kept thinking Bruce Weber would have throroughly enjoyed shooting this.