For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
I Am Cuba
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?…
Never since Sergei Eisenstein helmed the great Battleship Potemkin has propaganda film charged to the top of the mantel, setting the bar for the medium. Mikhail Kalatozov, employed by the Russian government to make a propaganda film in Cuba in order to promote socialism on an international scale is then given carte blanche in doing so. The result becomes the masterpiece of world cinema that stands before you in Soy Cuba. A labor of aesthetic beauty, a mastering of skills, and a culmination of cinema identifying on a universal base of human struggle against the many injustices of corrupt political systems.
Even though this film did serve a specific political purpose in promoting Fidel Castro and the communist regime (making…
My reaction to this being propaganda is Bob Odenkirk saying "who cares?" in the W/ BOB & DAVID "Resolutions" sketch because literally every minute (make that second) something breathtaking is happening in this movie. This movie seems impossible, yet here it is, somehow it exists, and nothing else in the world is quite like it.
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 may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
For some people, cinema is all about telling a good story. I respect that point of view - I came to film from a fairly literary background - but I can't completely agree with it. Films like this are why.
I Am Cuba is a propaganda film made in 1964 as a co-production between the Soviet Union and the young regime of Fidel Castro. It shows the spirit and vitality of the Cuban people, their exploitation by the forces of the ousted President Fulgencio Batista and their eventual revolution. It tells four stories, my favourite of which involves an old farmer who dreams of his youth and wishes for rain to come and save his dying crops. The rain then…
Stunning filmmaking. A real, genuine artistry.
great work. and interesting to see in same week as apu triliogy. rays film doing serious realism. this loves its artistic beauty.
There really is some amazing filmmaking here, and I enjoyed its premise and approach to its ideas. but the style became monotonous over two and a half hours; I wonder if a shorter film might have functioned as a more moving work. I won't forget it any time soon.
Lo que hace Kalatozov en «Soy Cuba» no se puede explicar con palabras, hay que verlo para creerlo. Hay que ver esa cámara flotar deslizarse, bailar e incluso bucear y preguntarse qué fuerza sobrehumana la dirige, cómo fluye de esa forma y qué hace que pese a ello nunca se pierda el encuadre perfecto, que cada plano pueda ser exhibido con todos los honores en museos.
Hay que verla para creerlo y preguntarse de dónde ha salido esta obra descomunal, qué viajero del tiempo vino del futuro para hacer a principios de los 60 una película que se escapaba de cualquier esquema y que incluso resultaría revolucionaria si se estrenase hoy en día. Este incomparable espectáculo en el que cada secuencia es una obra de genio.
Hay que verla para creerlo, y aun así cuesta hacerlo, porque es increíble.
Nothing short of amazing.
Who knew you could film a whole movie in extreme wide-angle!!!
Batista's Cuba is the land of extreme poverty and the oppressed, but for foreigners it's the land of Casino, bars, prostitutes and drunken American sailors boasting how great America is...
Communist kitsch aside, I am Cuba is a fabulous movie of great beauty., A fascinating poetry... A spectacular achievement. For my money, this is Mikhail Kalatozov's best movie, better than his "The cranes Are Flying"as the latter had mediocre acting. I am Cuba, while being a dazzling film, had great performances from all the characters. It made the stories more relatable.
What a great Movie!
I'm so glad I didn't watch this on my computer because I would've gotten distracted by collecting screenshots. So many amazing images and sequences - the opening club scene; a farmer burning his sugarcane fields; hoses turned on protesters, a man walking through streams of water & smoke.
I still can't fathom how Mikhail Kalatozov and his cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky managed some of those shots. Their camera movement doesn't seem bound to any sort of Earthly physics. The camera moves vertically up in the air by means you can't see or process. It also sometimes moves vertically through what seems like solid objects. At one point it literally is floating alone in the air and somehow moving itself forward. It finds a way to get so close to a subject where you feel like you can breath on them despite there being people and things all around that would be in the way of any camera let alone a human being holding one. It finds a way to…
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