Identity is the essential core of who we are as individuals, the conscious experience of the self-inside.
(Kaufman cited in Anzaldúa, 1987, p.84)
The objective of this essay will be to interpret the contradictions of identity produced in the movie Fresa y Chocolate and The Borderlands. When personal identity, is stifled and shaped by nationalistic discourse. By examining the polarised dichotomies of self-identity, juxtaposed against the internalised and dominant hegemonic discourse of imposed National and cultural identity. The paper will endeavour to expose how, the holding and wielded of power creates conflict and revolt between ones individual identity, when set against a dominant and oppressive structure. The paper will first examine the portrayal, in Fresa y Chocolate, of how the desire to express one’s own individuality and personal identity clashes with the widely accepted, but yet orchestrated and imposed, post-revolutionary Cuban national identity. By investigating, how the prescribed discourse from an autocratic Cuban regime, creates an emotional battleground for the expression of the individual. When pitched against the dogma surrounding what it means to be a good and contributing member of a socialist collective. The paper will reveal how, the intertwining personal journeys of Diego and David, creates a world of forced discovery and a transformed realisation of identity for both. Next, the paper will examine how internalised self-identity needs to be a dynamic and fluid battleground. Dominated by a pragmatic desire for survival. How this need for acceptance and existence manifests in a complex web of control and subjugation. Resulting in, what Anzaldua describes in The Borderlands as, creating a world of multiple forced survival assimilation techniques, so as to fulfil a desire to fit snugly into the hierarchy of a dominated social power structure, in what she calls ‘..mental nepantilism..’ and ‘..assimilation apathy to define ones’ own personal identity’(Anzaldua 1987, p.100).
Fresa y Chocolate is set against the backdrop of a crumbling Havana. During the so called ‘Special period. A time when Cuba found itself economically isolated from the rest of the world. This segregation, the product of the total collapse of socialism across the western world, aligned with U.S. trade embargoes; resulted in the biggest challenge, to-date, of the socialist ideology of the Castro regime. As a result, the Cuban government intensified its Nationalistic rhetoric. Which saw the censorship of vast amounts of cultural artefacts deemed inappropriate and contrary to the approved discourse of Cuban national identity. These restrictions seriously curtailed artistic expression. Consequential, driving people outside the dominant culture, into the shadows and in constant fear of exposure by the authorities. Ultimately, creating a wedge of mistrust through the heart of Cuban society. The major premise of Fresa y Chocolate is immersed in the resulting...