Documentary about Fidel Castro, covering 40 years of Cuban Revolution. Rare Fidel Castro footage: he appears swimming with a bodyguard, visiting his childhood home and school, playing with ... See full summary »

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Storyline

Documentary about Fidel Castro, covering 40 years of Cuban Revolution. Rare Fidel Castro footage: he appears swimming with a bodyguard, visiting his childhood home and school, playing with his friend Nelson Mandela, meeting kid Elián Gonzalez, and celebrating his birthday with the Buena Vista Social Club group. Written by lukejoplin@infolink.com.br

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Release Date:

2 August 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fidel: The Untold Story  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$19,320 (USA) (18 October 2002)

Gross:

$117,481 (USA) (28 March 2003)
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User Reviews

 
A magicians hand hides the other
24 July 2008 | by (Los Angeles, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

To be frank and up front with my position, I am a socialist and I hold little sympathy for Castro and his regime. However I have many questions, the man and the island his politburo rule hold puzzling answers to what I, up to fairly recently cared little about. This documentary was interesting at first, and the one thing I do give it credit for is detailing a sort of time-line of events, events which I would assume very few Americans ever knew about (too complex for a simplistic national myth). That merited 4 (out of 10) stars in my book, and after it was done thats all it garnered from me. This documentary does not pretend to be balanced, its called "The Untold Story", what greater asterisk could be placed on a documentary! So yes from the get-go we know were to hear a positive light on the life and times of the Cuban leader, I and anyone watching this should have known that. However they did so by largely omitting fact and detail, a good documentary representing a position should at the least present the arguments against its position (and explain against them undoubtedly) or leave them out without conclusion by the filmmaker for the audience to mull it over. The fact that the filmmakers didn't feel comfortable enough with the notion of bringing up these issues tells me they had intentions that lay beyond informing the public of the other side of the coin but instead to promote the other side of the coin beyond reasonable means, in other words propaganda.

There is a fine line, a very real one, between an opinionated documentary and "Reafer Madness". The more I watched I felt almost like I was being talked down to, they expect and hope we don't recall the prison camps for homosexuals, they ignore explaining the political structure of Cuba throughout its development, and they omit any voice of dissenter's within the island, one of the interviewed guests had the nerve to say "the most fascinating thing I think about him is...that he cant dance....I read that somewhere". At the end, I learned no more than I already knew or that which someone else could have read from a quick one-page biography. No context, no explanations. I didn't want nor expected a condemnation of him, I wanted details, I wanted to understand Cuba, Fidel and the revolutionary process, I wanted to hear from the horses mouth and have him defend himself, I wanted to hear the guests answer the questions in me, I wanted to see the life of the man juxtaposed with with his reasoning and narrated, rare (or rarely mentioned) documented evidence. I think all of this was within the boundary of my reasonable expectations, none was a part of this film (with a small exception of the rush to hostilities with the US in 1960-61). "Commandante" was much better.


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