Yet another year with yet another update.
2012 version can be found here.
2013 version can be found here.
An unabashed exercise in cinema stylistics, I Am Cuba is pro-Castro/anti-Batista rhetoric dressed up in the finest clothes. The film's four dramatic stories take place in the final days of the Batista regime; the first two illustrate the ills that led to the revolution, the third and fourth the call to arms which cut across social and economic lines.
We're losing our shit for CGI long takes when this movie exists?
Film #6 of Florin's Recommendations
“No, it’s not interesting senior.”
Camera enters the room, it moves around then exits through the window and goes floating over a crowded street. In another scene it moves around a room then moves out of the window, moves vertically to get to the bottom floor and then again moves around and finally follows a woman into the pool and goes under the water. How is that possible? I have no idea. The camera work is amazing, it moves in all possible ways and captures some bizarre images. A visually stunning movie and one that should be watched by anyone who seeks new experiences, one of the best cinematographies ever. Period.
But is that enough?…
Disclaimer: I was planning on writing more, but I just said "screw it" at some point. Sorry guys.
In some ways, I Am Cuba, Mikhail Kalatozov’s spectacularly ambitious visual masterpiece doesn’t deserve the label of propaganda. A dizzying parade of show-stopping imagery of a wholly unique breed, it is a breathtakingly original vision and an artistic achievement rivaled by a scarce few filmmakers. Each shot is a pure textbook demonstration of beautiful, luscious, exuberant cinematography that, in addition, supports its ardently pro-Castro message. In fact, to suggest that Kalatozov uses his camerawork as nothing more than a helpful (but disposable) tool would be grossly misleading; in a film with a script that one might half-expect to hear broadcasted on Soviet…
Not just a Bolshevik hallucination, but also a feverish ballet. Sure, it's propagandistic, but the outsized emotions are emphatically physical. The actors are dancing, acting out their drama in their movements, from the prostitute dancing in the club, to the revolutionary marching against any and all oppression. The camera, of course, is the prima ballerina.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
She is Cuba, and oh how beautiful she is. One of the most aesthetically incredible works of art I've ever seen, this is a staggering confluence of realism and expressionism, somehow tying together disparate styles to create a visually vivid and narratively nebulous masterpiece that works as beautifully as an ode to its homeland as any film I've ever seen. It's a wonder that something so openly propagandist can transcend implicit political and philosophical viewpoints; whether you share the doctrines to which the film ideologically adheres, you can't help but be swept adrift its sea of semiotics. How beautifully moving are its four stories, how sadly indicative of the plight of the nation. Through the…
I'm so close to just saying that this is the best movie I've ever seen.
Apart from a bum first segment which serves to highlight all of the production deficiencies (atrocious ADR and English performances, god-awful editing, not particularly great acting) this is astonishingly good. There's no excuse for films not to have Emmanuel Lubezki-length takes when ones even more impressive were being accomplished in the 60s!
Not as much propaganda as I was expecting, though much of the content is questionable. Soy Cuba tells the stories of various Cubans before the revolution, depicting the injustices of daily life. The point of view is very one-sided, as cruel Americans make life for the hardworking Cuban people. Obvious political bias aside, these stories show a need for a revolution in Cuba, which I assume had happened for a reason.
But the reason this film is significant today is the amazing camerawork. Some of the shots this film achieved in 1964 would be difficult to pull off today, even with the use of Steadicam, Go-Pro cameras, or CGI. The camera movement is incredible on its own, but the film…
things to note:
9.8 mm wide-angle lens
extremely low angle
... It's like crack. And, "I've got these cheeseburgers, man".
FUUUCK... That's the stuff...
Cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky's camera seems to literally float through this film as though a dream--one by turns tranquil, fevered, and nightmarish, but never less than stunning. Propaganda rarely looks this good.
I am not into politics, I'm into cinema... and FUUUCK this is one of the most incredibly beautiful and engaging cinematic experiences I have ever had!!!
A great epic poem of technical genius, visual beauty and masterful story telling. One of the greatest films of all time.
For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
Another year, another update. 2012 List can be found here.
The following is a really extensive and great list of…