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"Soy Cuba, O Mamute Siberiano", the documentary about the making of the Soviet-Cuban film "Soy Cuba", is of interest because after 40 years of having been made, it examines the fate of the original movie. We are taken to meet the surviving people that worked in the film. Vicente Ferraz, the director of the documentary, delves deeply into how a film that was influential, was forgotten by both partners of the production.
It's a curiosity piece to go back forty years to some of the places in which the film was shot. Havana served as the natural setting of the movie. The contrast between then and now is amazing. The city shows signs of deterioration, especially when certain parts of "Soy Cuba" looks today.
What surprises the viewer is the fact that most of the survivors that worked in the movie felt betrayed after the film had been ridiculed in Cuba. In fact, some of the newspaper clippings show how the film critics made fun and panned it in all the official media.
The amazing camera work by Sergei Urusevsky was never understood by the movie going public. The Soviet realism the director Mikheil Kalatozishvili gave the picture confounded the same people the film makers wanted to surprise. In a way, most Cubans grew up viewing American, European, and Latin America cinema, so the film was hard to digest by most of the population who didn't identify with what they saw on the screen.
A point is made about how "Soy Cuba" was rediscovered by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, who were the ones instrumental for bringing it to American audiences. This revolutionary work created quite a sensation and it started a curiosity for Americans in wanting to discover Cuba, which was a sort of forbidden fruit, so near, but so far away.
This documentary examines in detail the fate of a film that was doomed from the start, yet, as the director points out, it's an important piece of cinema.
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