8.2/10
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7 user 1 critic

Cuba and the Cameraman (2017)

Life in Cuba for three struggling families over the course of 45 years, from the cautious optimism of the early 1970s to the harrowing 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 death of Fidel Castro.

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Life in Cuba for three struggling families over the course of 45 years, from the cautious optimism of the early 1970s to the harrowing 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 death of Fidel Castro.

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24 November 2017 (USA)  »

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Story of the people
26 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

I enjoyed watching this film so much, chatting away to my wife about all the familiar places and stories. My work has taken me there a lot over the years. The stories portrayed here are exactly what one sees when you develop friendships over the years in Cuba. I felt as if the three brothers were my friends too, having spent much of my time in the farming communities of Cuba. I felt emotionally attached to them as time passed and economic pressures shaped their experience.

There is so much depth and complexity to the Cuban story, and it can be incredibly confusing to go between the worlds of tourism, government lectures, and time in the homes or fields of Cubans. Add to that the sentiments of exiles and one can struggle to navigate these waters and formulate clear opinions. One is constantly meeting people in unexpected positions with extraordinary education. Ag engineers and entomologists breeding beneficial insects for organic farms in old soda bottles under palapa huts, PhD of Latin American literature checking you into your hotel, or a university professor selling peanuts on the street to make ends meet. This film also captures that phenomenon.

What is not confusing, is connecting with Cubans. This filmmaker does an excellent job of connecting the viewer with the experience of Cuban people for them to develop their own opinions based on these stories, history, geopolitics, etc. I was overly excited to provide my own supplementary narrative, translations, etc to my patient wife who has never visited the island. The footage is unique, following various people over many years. It's the first film of its kind filmed in Cuba that I'm aware of. My wife winced at some of the questions directed towards people in times of intense struggle, belaboring the narrative a bit at what was obviously a difficult situation. The people would have enjoyed telling their story though, and what a great body of unique work it has produced as a result of this filmmakers diligence.


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