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?…
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…
This is one hell of a difficult movie to review. You have to put the style and the pure filmmaking away from the story, the acting and the characters more than perhaps with any other film.
Soy Cuba is a visceral masterpiece, it's camera movements are highly intricate and extremely complex. Well, that's not anything new because that's what this film is famous for. Some shots are just breathtaking, my mind boggles over the pure logistics behind the film. Oh well, I suppose you can do anything you want if you're backed by two communist states..
The films look is appealing just in that specific PR-kind of a way. The film sells Cuba as this anti-capitalistic paradise where the women…
I think this is one of the best shot movies I've seen and created a fantastic consistent mood throughout. The last story was a bit of a letdown cause the first three were much better with the one about the old man being the best
I... I think I have a new favorite movie.
"I am Cuba. Once, Christopher Columbus landed here. He wrote in his diary : 'This is the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes'. Thank you Senor Columbus."
Mikhail Kalatozov, director of The Cranes Are Flying, manages to capture the horrific conditions of pre-revolution Cuba with stunning emotion and intensity while also using high contrast black and white photography to put together some of the most beautiful sequences of cinema that I've ever seen. As much poetry as it is propaganda, I Am Cuba contains four vignettes that tell heart wrenching stories about the soul of Cuba, its people. The stories take the viewer to the slums where a prostitute makes her living, to a sugarcane field where an…
Yes this is Soviet propaganda, but so what! This is one of the most incredible films I have ever seen. The tracking shots alone make it a cinematic masterpiece. The film is beautiful to look at and and several of the sequences are surprisingly emotional--the old man in his sugar cane fields, the student protester carrying a dead dove, and the peaceful mountain family being bombed. You can take all your CGI and shove it; this is the way to make a great piece of art.
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
- Donnie Darko
- Morvern Callar
- Irma Vep
- Miami Blues
- Babe: Pig in the City
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Tokyo Story
- The Rules of the Game
- Marketa Lazarová
- Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
Everyone has to start somewhere and although there might be quite a few great lists that introduce people to foreign…