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I Am Cuba
Russia/Cuba 1964
Directed by Bela Friedman / Mikhail Kalatazov
Running time 141 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


Extraordinary camerawork and stunning images in a series of vignettes in this account of the Cuban revolution that build to a full blown call to arms for Castro's anti-Battista guerrillas in exemplary agitprop manner. Partially written by renowned Russian dissident poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko it depicts that inequities in conditions under Cuba's corrupt right-wing government in hte 1950s and the struggle of the Left to bring social justice to the people.

The now famous long take that begins at the top of the hotel, winds around and down into the swimming pool, originally come out of the water and continued but the director cropped it, ending underwater. The camera was hand held, passed from crew member to crew member, to make its way down the side of the hotel into the pool. The camera lens had been equipped with a high speed, spinning glass disk taken from a submarine periscope. The spinning disk was installed to fling water drops of the lens when the camera emerged from the swimming pool at the end of the shot. The film is complemented by an excellent score by Carlos Fariñas.

 

 

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