Improper Conduct (1984)

Improper Conduct (1984)

“If you’d read about Hitler and others who persecuted homosexuals, you’d realize the worst persecutors were homosexuals themselves.”

Cuban exiles discuss “moral purges” in post-revolutionary Cuba, when those who exhibited “improper conduct” (primarily homosexuals and intellectuals) were persecuted and/or jailed.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Cuba
  • Documentary
  • Homosexuality

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this acclaimed documentary by Cuban exiles Nestor Almendros (a highly respected cinematographer who died of AIDS in 1992) and Orlando Jimenez Leal effectively depicts “the widespread and systematic oppression and persecution of those who [didn’t] fit [Castro’s] image of ‘macho’.” While the film does run a bit too long, it remains a powerful antidote to the overly “rose-colored vision many political radicals have” of revolutionary Cuba.

Redeeming Qualities:

  • Shows a side of Castro’s regime that isn’t often discussed

Must See?
Yes. This powerful documentary remains essential viewing.


  • Historically Relevant


One thought on “Improper Conduct (1984)

  1. First viewing. Agreed, must-see – for its importance in historical cinema.

    If I had seen this film over 10 years ago, when the above posting was made, I would have commented on it more from a place of comfort …considering what our White House administration was at the time …and considering what it is now (in 2018).

    True, homosexuals and ‘undesirables’ aren’t put in camps in the US …yet. But there are certainly parallels in this documentary that can serve as a warning re: the fascist leanings currently gaining ground in America. (I became particularly concerned about VP Pence …whose ideology could easily turn rabid if anything were to happen to Trump and he took over.)

    I found the doc riveting throughout. I didn’t particularly feel it’s too long – there is sufficient variety among those interviewed, giving us a wide number of perspectives that enrich our understanding.

    Though the entire film is very moving, I was particularly touched by the appearance of poet / novelist Reinaldo Arenas (whose ‘Before Night Falls’, of course, also became a film, with Javier Bardem as Arenas).

    This is a chilling piece of cinema.

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