Cuba, 24 de febrero de 1958. Para estas fechas está previsto celebrar el II Gran Premio Automovilístico Internacional de la ciudad de La Habana. El gran piloto argentino, Juan Manuel Fangio...
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Cuba, 24 de febrero de 1958. Para estas fechas está previsto celebrar el II Gran Premio Automovilístico Internacional de la ciudad de La Habana. El gran piloto argentino, Juan Manuel Fangio (Darío Grandinetti), cinco veces campeón mundial, es esperado con los brazos abiertos por todos los cubanos y por el gobierno de Batista, organizador del evento. Pero el grupo revolucionario fidelista "26 de julio" tiene otros planes para Fangio, que no son precisamente pilotar. La intención del grupo es que Fangio boicotee a un gobierno al que le queda muy poco tiempo en el poder. Written by
argentino de rio
This disastrous film-disastrous artistically, financially, critically,...-is yet another horrendous "Cubaxplotion" pictures. These have been yielding a mixed bag of good and bad films since about l990, when former benefactor-the Soviet Union stopped subsidizing the island.
Most of these "new" Cuban films wear on their sleeves the odd collaboration between hard line (now a relic) communism, and shameless capitalism from Europe. Coming particularly from Germany and Spain, though Mexico and Argentina have also gotten in to the act.
While some have succeeded at many and all levels, that is clearly not the case with OPERACION FANGIO. This is, as the epilogue in the film states " a loose reenactment of the February 1958 Second Cuban World Automobile Championships in Havana." Loose indeed.
That would be no problem if the movie were worthwhile in any aspect. Veracity is not a requisite for a good film. But the movie is neither entertaining, well made, or historically correct. In spite of pulling out all the stops of the "Cubaxplotation" genre, nothing can rescue this film.
It is sad to the talents of two great Argentine actors, Dario Granadetti (as Fangio) and Hector Alterio (as the Argentine ambassador)as shallow caricatures. Equally embarrassing is the veteran Spanish actor, Fernando Guillen sporting a laughable Italian accent.
The recreation of 1958 Havana has been done better in (I hate to say it)American films, and other anti-Castro Cuban exile films using other locations. A good recent example is ANTES DE ANOCHECER (Before Night Falls), an independent co-production without the budgets and nearly unlimited possibilities "Operacion Fangio" had. It was filmed in Mexico (though most films use Santo Domingo, DR as a Havana substitute). With a small budget, the makers of "Before Night Falls," restored, repainted and recreated a former Havana far more palatable, let alone believable, than seen in "O. Fangio."
Havana of 1958 in this film looks, well... like Havana of 2000, highlighting the now 42 year long decay of this once-grand city. One would think that some buildings would have been repainted (at least the facades), and more period detail other than the occasional phony "Esso" and "Drink Canada Dry" billboards. The racial composition of the city is shown as it is now, and not as it was 40 years ago, when the look of the people (ethnic make up) was completely different.
It is unbelievable that with the unprecedented state support this movie received, it can be so awful. It may be that all that state support implied a compromise with the co-producers, as the present regime "loosely" rewrote history- the 1958 Havana appearance by Fangio, now due to the date and many factors all too apparent (actually distracting)in the movie. The state support included closing the main thoroughfares in Havana days on ends for filming, and busing state workers to create a fabulous number of unpaid extras at full disposal. Nevertheless, the film does not look for one minute like the Havana of 1958.
With the former Soviet funding, Cuba made outstanding pictures with clear propaganda purposes, rewriting history. But they were outstanding movies, critically-acclaimed worldwide. It is sad that less and less, Cuba is lending itself to third rate films, and sadder than major European and Latin American entities are exploiting the dire economic situation to make many "grand" productions, which nobody sees, or worse no one cares about. Try finding a copy of this video, and other recent "Cubaxplotation" like the Spanish "Cuba" (2000), or the semi-German "Kleines Tropicana."
Above all other issues (which contribute to the mediocrity), this is one boring film. Actually, I don't know why I have written this? If few people have seen (or even heard of this film), who would want to read this? Anyway, here it is.
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