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I Am Cuba (1964)

Soy Cuba (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, History, War | December 1995 (USA)
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1:49 | Trailer

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In 1 theater near Ashburn VA US [change]

ON DISC
Four vignettes about the lives of the Cuban people set during the pre-revolutionary era.

Director:

Mikhail Kalatozov (as Mijail Kalatozov)

Writers:

Enrique Pineda Barnet, Evgeniy Evtushenko (as Evgueny Evtushenko)
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sergio Corrieri ... Alberto
Salvador Wood Salvador Wood
José Gallardo José Gallardo ... Pedro
Raúl García Raúl García ... Enrique
Luz María Collazo Luz María Collazo ... Maria / Betty
Jean Bouise ... Jim (in Cuban version) (as Jean Bouisse)
Alberto Morgan Alberto Morgan
Celia Rodriguez ... Gloria (in Cuban version) (as Zilia Rodríguez)
Fausto Mirabal Fausto Mirabal
Roberto García York Roberto García York ... American activist
María de las Mercedes Díez María de las Mercedes Díez
Bárbara Domínguez Bárbara Domínguez
Jesús del Monte Jesús del Monte ... (as Isis del Monte)
Luisa María Jiménez Luisa María Jiménez ... Teresa
Mario González Broche Mario González Broche ... Pablo (in Cuban version) (as Mario González)
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Storyline

This study of Cuba--partially written by renowned poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko--captures the island just before it made the transition to a post-revolutionary society. Moving from city to country and back again, I AM CUBA examines the various problems caused by political oppression as well as by great discrepancies in wealth and power. Beginning in Havana in the pre-Castro era, we see how foreigners contributed to the city's prostitution and poverty; this sequence features dreamy, hallucinogenic camera work that creates a feeling of unease and dislocation. Then, in glorious images of palm tress and fertile land, the film looks at the sugar cane fields in the countryside, and the difficulties faced by peasants working the land. Finally, back in the city again, leftist students battle the police and a corrupt government--and pay a high price for their rebellion. Written by Mr Bongo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Mr Bongo Films

Country:

Cuba | Soviet Union

Language:

Spanish | English

Release Date:

December 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Am Cuba See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$160,697
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2005 restored Spanish) | (2005 restored Spanish) | (1964 original)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The now famous long take that begins at the top of the hotel, then winds around and down into the swimming pool, originally come out of the water and continued. The camera was hand held, passed from crew member to crew member, to make its way down the side of the hotel into the pool. The camera lens had been equipped with a high speed, spinning glass disk taken from a submarine periscope. The spinning disk was installed to fling water drops of the lens when the camera emerged from the swimming pool at the end of the shot. Much to the disappointment of the camera crew, director Mikhail Kalatozov cut the end of the take, ending it underwater. See more »

Quotes

The voice of Cuba: I am Cuba. Sometimes it seems to me that the sap of my palm trees are full of blood. Sometimes it seems to me that the murmuring sounds... around us are not the ocean but choked-back tears of the people. Who answers for this blood? Who is responsible for these tears?
News Announcer: The General Fulgencio Batista, Honorable President of the Republic, receives an award...
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Connections

Referenced in The Extra Man (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

A pinnacle of cinematic art
18 November 2002 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

"Don't avert your eyes. Look! I am Cuba. For you, I am the casino, the bar, hotels and brothels. But the hands of these children and old people are also me" -- Yevgeni Yevtushenko

I Am Cuba is described by film critic Elliot Wilhelm as "a unique, insane, exhilarating spectacle". Filmed in Spanish, dubbed in Russian, and subtitled in English, this unique collaboration between Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov (The Cranes are Flying), the poet Yevgeni Yevtushenko, and writer Enrique Pineda Barnet dramatizes the conditions that led to the 1959 Cuban revolution. Originally made in 1964 (and unpopular both in Russia and Cuba), it was released in 1995 through the combined efforts of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.

I Am Cuba is set in the late 1950s when a ragtag bunch of students, workers, and peasants organized to overthrow the corrupt regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista. The film is divided into four sequences. The first depicts the American-run gambling casinos and prostitution in Havana. The next shows a farmer burning his sugar cane when he learns he is going to lose his land to United Fruit. Another describes the suppression of students and dissenters at Havana University, and the final sequence shows how government bombing of mountain fields induced farmers to join with the rebels in the Sierra Maestre mountains. The final scene is a triumphal march into Havana to proclaim the revolution.

Marvelously photographed in black and white by Sergei Urusevsky and using acrobatic camerawork by Alexandr Kalzaty, some of the shots and distorted camera angles are so staggering as to be virtually unbelievable. In one sequence, the camera lifts off from a hotel rooftop, takes in the Havana skyline, descends several floors, winds its way through the poolside party-goers, and then takes you for a swim in the pool in one continuous shot. Reminiscent of Sergei Eisenstein, the caricatures are broad but are presented with such exuberance that it hardly seems to matter. Audacious and imaginative, I Am Cuba is a revelation, not only for its style but also for its inspiration. Filmed with true visionary poetry, I Am Cuba transcends the genre of advocacy filmmaking to reach a pinnacle of cinematic art.


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