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I Am Cuba [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Top Customer Reviews
The four beautifully shot stories transport the viewer from decadence in pre-Castro Havana towards the days of fighting for freedom. Following a typically soviet propaganda line throughout, this film is far more impressive than it sounds and this may be due to the superb cinematography,the moving shots,crowd scenes and the staccato,sparse dialogue.
I havent seen a film as striking as this for a long time,the slow,even paced stories are a visual delight and i wonder if the bearded revolutionary speaking in the mountains on the radio near the end is meant to be Don Fidel himself?.
Scripted in Spanish with patches of english dialogue,this is a very strange mix of soviet funding and Cuban bravado...superb!.
If this sounds dull, then rest assured that the plot is minimal and, despite it's avowedly political purpose, hardly gets in the way of the film's main attractions today. What distinguishes the production is the cinematography. It is not an exaggeration to say that the images and technique in the film are breathtaking, and it is a tour-de-force of bravura camera work. Apparently Martin Scorcese has screened this film privately to work out how such-and-such a shot was achieved, and perhaps it's influence can be found in the famous through-the-kitchens tracking shot in 'Goodfellas'.
This is a film where the camera is constantly in motion, with sweeping balletic long takes, crane and hand held shots, tracking shots, includingsome over and down the side of buildings, through cane fields, into swimming pools, around packed night clubs, even hovering and moving along high over a street in the middle of a packed funeral procession - all without the usual cutting. I estimate the average length of a take in this film at about 2 - 3 minutes, a figure rare enough when done well these days, with the benefit of steadicams - but jaw dropping given the still-unwieldy equipment they were surely using in 1964. In particular one or two large scale sequences must have taken days, if not weeks, to prepare, and presumably needed government marshaling to choreograph. (Ironically, whether or not the film makers intended it, the liberated camera work on display here reflects the notion of revolutionary freedom far more than the actual story vignettes.Read more ›
Some thirty years on Kalatozov's masterpiece of Soviet Realist agitprop has been rediscovered and restored by a new generation of filmmakers including Scorsese and Coppola who can admire the artistry and technical brilliance of the director, Urusevsky, his unconventional DOP, and the cast of unknowns who manage to rise above a clichéd and ill conceived script to create a rare piece of visual poetry.
This box set includes Ferraz's award winning documentary `I am Cuba, the Siberian Mammoth' in which the Brazilian filmmaker goes to Cuba in search of the surviving cast and crew to recreate a unique time when the revolution was fresh, the Cuban film industry was in its infancy, Che was making deals with Japanese film studios in return for sugar, and a naïve group of Soviet filmmakers came to the tropical island to lend a hand.
Kalatovoz's film bombed in Cuba due to the unaddressed cultural differences that existed between the Slavic filmmakers and their Caribbean counterparts, it was largely banned in the USSR for its depiction of the heady days US corruption, and was ignored in a hostile West, and the true highlight of this collection is when Ferraz reveals the films recent rehabilitation to a genuinely shocked cast and crew.
When the film was needed, it was ignored. When it's an archaeological artefact, it's rescued.
The movie has one of the best and captivating openings I ever saw. In addition to the stories being interesting, the camera work is remarkable and contributes to the metaphor of capturing the spirit of Cuba. The camera smoothly floats without bounds like a spirit around the vibrant scene. In addition to the great opening, the cameras continue to impress and float spirit-like periodically. The movie flows with artistic beauty and places us in a trance between the sights and sounds (as the music is very much part of the culture itself).
All of the stories have an element of anti-American sentiment, which shouldn't be a surprise. Regardless of one's own view of communism the movie allows us to learn about the people and culture of Cuba. The first two stories are more about the injustices and abuses of power that come with capitalism; the last two stories are about events that shape revolutionaries and how they are trying to right the injustices. All in all, I am Cuba is captivating and is sure to please those who enjoy artistic world cinema.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you love photography, if you love cinematography this film is a visual orgasm.Published 2 months ago by Edsonwilliams
this is a good film. end of story. what's completely irrelevant is whether it is pro-castro or pro-batista. Read morePublished 19 months ago by majormulatto
Photography is excellent; non-professional actors do a great job; an impressive portrait of Cuba in the 60s. Give it a try.Published on 31 Mar. 2014 by Ana Pina
This classic film well deserves its reputation. Visually beautiful, contrasted with confronting details of pre-Revolution Cuba under the regime of Batista. Read morePublished on 28 Nov. 2013 by Kathleen AVENT
A stunning piece of cinema - technically, artistically and the story behind it is an eye-opener too. Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2013 by leo
Important to familiarise self with background story to this classic meant to be a colossal tool in Soviet post-Stalinist propaganda but it never turned out that way. Read morePublished on 29 Jun. 2013 by Dr. Alfred Quintano
An artistic film way beyond it's time. Involving storylines and a brilliant insight into the mood of that era in Cuban history.Published on 15 Nov. 2012 by Amazon Customer
I first noticed this artwork through a radio feature about russian directors in the sixties. When I saw it I had the feeling that I found a hidden treasure. Read morePublished on 17 May 2012 by Endruh Unruh
I bought this dvd for my son, he recommended it, I haven't actually seen it myself but knowing the types of films he likes it will appeal to a film boffin. Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2012 by jem