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Cuban Rafters (2002)
"Balseros" (original title)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 477 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 9 user | 18 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

The story of Cuban refugees who risked their lives in homemade rafts to reach the United States, and what life is like for those who succeed.

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(as Carlos Bosch) ,
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Title: Cuban Rafters (2002)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Guillermo Armas ...
Himself
...
Herself (archive footage)
Rafael Cano ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Oscar Del Valle ...
Himself
Mericys Gonzalez ...
Herself
Misclaida Gonzalez ...
Herself
Miriam Hernández ...
Herself
Juan Carlos Subiza ...
Himself
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Storyline

The story of Cuban refugees who risked their lives in homemade rafts to reach the United States, and what life is like for those who succeed.

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Genres:

Documentary

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Details

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Release Date:

12 April 2002 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Balseros  »

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1.66 : 1
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Featured in The 76th Annual Academy Awards (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Definitely not the most powerful documentary ever, but still moving
21 June 2004 | by (Ithaca, NY) – See all my reviews

This is the story of many different Cuban lives intertwined, as they all hope of one day escaping Castro's communism and achieving the American Dream. However, the degree to which they achieve this varies widely. Some, like Rafael Cano are able to persevere and put their faith in God, and achieve the dream. However, another young woman who moves to Albuquerque becomes involved in drugs and falls into the depths of poverty, and is eventually even disowned by her own sister. She even says at one point that she wants to go back to Cuba, because it is "her own country." For this character, the American lifestyle was a lot less glamorous than it seemed from the outside.

I don't believe the film was making an overt political statement. Although it did show the passion with which these young men and women so desperately wanted to leave Cuba, it also portrayed the United States as villainous, with Clinton telling Cubans to go back to their own country, etc.

I wish the film had shown us more about the lifestyles these characters led in Cuba before fleeing to the U.S. From what I could tell, it seemed as if the only thing that excited Cuban people was the prospect of escaping to the "freedoms" offered by the United States. For instance, when someone was leaving the village with his or her raft, the entire village gathered around and bid him farewell, and then people proceeded to follow him with bikes. It was almost as if a president were passing by on a motorcade. So, I was really interested in learning about Cuban life under Castro, but I would imagine it is definitely not as mundane as the film (inadvertantly?) makes it out to be.

Overall: 6 stars out of 10


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