I Am Cuba

Some of the most exhilarating camera movements and most luscious black-and-white cinematography you’ll ever see inhabit this singular, delirious 141-minute communist propaganda epic of 1964, a Cuban-Russian production poorly received in both countries at the time (in Cuba it was often referred to as I Am Not Cuba). Directed by Mikhail Kalatozovbest known in the West for his 1957 The Cranes Are Flyingfrom a screenplay by Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Enrique Pineda Barnet, this multipart hymn to the Cuban communist revolution may be dated to the point of campiness in much of its rhetoric, but it stands alongside the unfinished masterworks of Sergei Eisenstein and Orson Welles about Latin America, Que Viva Mexico and It’s All True, two parallel celebrations from foreign perspectives. (The constructivist shack occupied by a Havana prostitute in the first episode is one example of stylization run amok here.) In Spanish and Russian with subtitles. 141 min. (JR)

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