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Comandante (2003)

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Documentary on the director's meeting with Castro.

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Cast

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...
Himself
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Himself
Juanita Vera ...
Herself (Castro's Interpreter)
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Storyline

Documentary on the director's meeting with Castro.

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Documentary

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Release Date:

6 June 2003 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Comandante Fidel Castro  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the beginning of the movie, when Stone and Castro are strolling through the corridors, you see Santiago Segura, dressed in white, standing in front of a group of people. See more »

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Features Vatel (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Small Island, Big Revolution, Giant Leader.
19 December 2005 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

This film is a fantastic, hypnotic encounter with the legendary Marxist, world agitator and bete noire to America, Fidel Castro. It features left-wing warrior Oliver Stone's trademark flash cutting and controversial storytelling, alongside a simply stunning musical score from Alberto Iglesias. Prepare for the Buena Vista Social Club (2001) on revolutionary acid.

The beginning of Commandante – yet another Oliver Stone masterpiece – is similar to the beginning of his epic JFK (1991): lots of archive footage of Castro and Cuba, only this time intercut with masses of frenzied crowds drunk on revolutionary fervour, all shouting 'Fidel, Fidel', hailing their great man who is still there in this film, forty years later. Incredible.

There is both 1960s and modern footage of Havana featuring giant murals of 'Che' Guevara, Fidel ('VIVA FIDEL CASTRO') and … a total absence of any corporate, Western advertising whatsoever. There is a lot of poverty, but also a series of impromptu meetings between Castro (and Stone) and various Cubans in the streets. Propaganda or planned? The movie harks back to the original revolution in 1959 and Castro's initial pro-Western peoples revolution, hailing (in English) 'representative democracy' and 'social justice'. Of course, the American corporations and political elite could never countenance any notion of true democracy just ninety miles from their corrupt lands and so the story unfolds of how various presidents tried to invade the island and destroy their path.

Fidel himself at 80 is surprisingly fit and optimistic, always in his olive green military fatigues. He appears to be a genuine messiah, despite the paradox of religion and atheistic communism in this island paradise. He wears his customary beard, is polite and genuinely sincere. Castro and Oliver Stone – in a remarkably frank and candid series of interviews – go on to discuss everything from politics, film, women and nationalism. Castro admires Sophia Loren, Charlie Chaplin, Khruschev, Gorbachev, Depardieu and a host of others. He has watched Titanic and Gladiator but hates Nixon – who he considers the originator of the American hatred of his island – yet feels sorry for Kennedy for being assassinated.

Could George W Bush even consider for one second walking the streets of his capital city? No, he would be strung up as a corrupt war criminal and stooge to all of the corporate giants that have been banished from Cuba (Texaco, Gulfoil, McDonalds, etc.).

In the original 1960s footage Castro is hailed by crowds of literally one million people. He is a strange combo of Dr Caligari, Karl Marx and the Pope.


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