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Comandante [DVD] [2003]

16 customer reviews

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Comandante [DVD] [2003] + Fidel: The Untold Story [DVD] (2001)
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Product details

  • Actors: Fidel Castro, Oliver Stone, Juanita Vera
  • Directors: Oliver Stone
  • Writers: Oliver Stone
  • Producers: Oliver Stone, Alessandra Pasquino, Fernando Sulichin, Jaume Roures, José Ibáñez
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Optimum Home Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Jun. 2004
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00022VML2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,118 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Filmmaker Oliver Stone interviewed Cuban leader Fidel Castro for over 30 hours in February 2002 to collect footage for this hour-and-a-half-long documentary, which was premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. The two men discuss topics including the US trade embargo, the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, and Cuba's situation in the world today. Communist leader Castro, who has ruled Cuba for more than 45 years, gets the nickname 'Comandante' from his military rank.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Dec. 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Possibly one of the most subversive films of recent years, Stone's interview all but blows the US propaganda image of Castro and Cuba out of the water. Castro emerges as a thoughtful, highly intelligent leader and - in several telling sequences depicting impromptu strolls through the streets of Havana, one that is regarded with more than a little respect and affection by Cubans. An encouraging 'must see' for those who have even a modicum of doubt concerning Castro's more vociferous critics.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Brophy on 4 July 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An excellent, fascinating film but also flawed. Whatever you think about Fidel this film shows you how incredibly intelligent, charming and personable the man is.
The documentary is immensely interesting due its format. There is Fidel talking about everything from major world issues to viagra, there is the reaction of the people when he goes on walkabouts around Havana, there are the inter-cuts of archive film relating to the issues he is discussing and then there is great Latin American music binding it all together.
Fidel talks a lot of sense about the environment and at times the hypocrisy of the United States. However the film is a missed opportunity because Stone does not tie down Fidel as he should have done over the dictatorship which Fidel manages. Its a real pity because I think Stone could have done so and have still maintained the atmosphere which allowed Fidel to be as honest and relaxed as he was. Just when you wanted another more probing question to be asked, Stone moves onto something else. I have been to Cuba and I have met people who have said to me that there is no freedom in the country and this view was not put forward strongly enough in the film. Also I can see why many Cuban exiles would get pissed off with the overly chummy farewells at the end of the credits. However, despite these criticisms, it is still one of the best documentaries I have seen in years. Shame on America for effectively banning it.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 2 Jun. 2005
Format: DVD
Looking for an image of Fidel Castro beyond what the majority of the Western world are force fed? Look no further. This film portrays a genuine revolutionary, and an approachable leader. I was glued to this for the entirety, and Stone does well, despite a few cringe moments (due to sensitive allegations against cuba), to allow Castro to truly shine as a funny and emotional man. One of the few documentaries to grab the attention for the full hour and a half
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Arheddis Varkenjaab TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 April 2006
Format: DVD
Propaganda is a strange thing. If you recognise something as being propaganda, then it isn't having it's effect. Progaganda, to be effective, must be insidious. So when something is shown to you of which you have no direct experience, how do you know if it's propaganda?

I asked myself that question all through this film. Is this a piece of propaganda? I recently returned from Cuba and found the country fascinating, frustrating and full of paradox. There is poverty, but little despair. There is little to buy, but a guaranteed food ration. So I watched this film with one cynical eye, but I found little to criticise. Silly things - Castro's walkabout in Havana for example. I recognise where he went, and he appears to only walk about 50metres. Big deal. He says there are few prostitutes in Cuba..hmm, maybe we unintentionally went to the red light district but we were offered women everwhere. These are minor things. We met people who love Castro, with tatoos of Fidel and Che on their arms. We met people who simple accepted him at best, and were patirently waiting for him to die in the hope of better things. The same as any country and any country's leader.

This film is like Cuba itself, fascinating and frustrating. Stone asks some very interesting questions, but no really difficult ones. No Jeremy Paxman here, but if you listen to the alternative director's commentary (one of the few on DVD actually worth listening to) the interrogative style wasn't Stone's intention - he wants to get to the man, to talk to the human behind the icon that is Castro.

An absoleutly riveting documentary. Regardless of your politics, or what propaganda you've been conciously or unconciously exposed to, this is a great film.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 April 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
`Comandante' is a compelling and fascinating interview with Castro filmed in 2002. It looks at a variety of topics from the revolution, bay of pigs, Che Guevara, modern Cuba and way more besides. Castro comes across as extremely charismatic and candid and although you have to be aware of the bias in any interview of this type, this doesn't feel especially like a PR exercise or publicity stunt. Oliver Stone is a poor interviewer and his questioning could have been more concise to get a more coherent narrative from Castro and taking this into account this interview is all the more interesting. Once you get used to the subtitles and translations tripping over each other this quickly become compelling viewing and 90 minutes goes by in the blink of an eye. It is fascinating to see Castro when he meets the public, they obviously seem to adore him and you don't feel as if this is staged either. It is also great to see historical footage inter-cut with the interview and footage of modern day Havana as well. All in all, this is a intriguing, fascinating and extremely watchable interview with one of the most important world leaders from the last 50 years. Well worth a look.

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