8.2/10
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62 user 79 critic

I Am Cuba (1964)

Soy Cuba (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, History, War | December 1995 (USA)
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1:50 | Trailer

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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:

$168,100

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$274,098
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2005 restored Spanish) | (1964 original) | (2019 Milestone Restoration)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This film was made when the Soviet Union sent director Mikhail Kalatozov, who won the Palme d'Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival for his film 'The Cranes are Flying', to Cuba to make a film to celebrate the Cuban revolution. Kalatozoy arrived in Cuba the week after the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion when the revolution was still being won and Cuban people remained optimistic about their future. Filming continued on, as well, at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. See more »

Quotes

Student Marchers: [singng] Run to the battle, fellow people of Bayamo. Your country looks at you with pride. Do not fear a glorious death, to die for your motherland is to live. To live enchained is to submit to insult and ignominy. Hear the bugle sound: Prepare for battle, o' valiant ones! Onward!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Boogie Nights (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Sculpted Spatial Force
28 December 2007 | by tedgSee all my reviews

Is this the best film ever made? For me today in its afterglow it is.

I'm so fickle. I think if all else were equal, I'll always take embodied, real cinema that is coherently integrated. The way of telling the story is ideally complex and folded, using tricks to make the story matter. But if the storytelling is less spectacular, as long as the thing engages, that's what matters. If it changes me, its art and important, regardless of whether I can tell a good story about the storytelling.

That's the way I prefer. But sometimes the storytelling is so spectacular, so engaging in itself, that it doesn't matter what the story is. These are rare, because after all, you need the touch to change your life. So a filmmaker as unsophisticated and unattractive as, say Elia Kazan, can modify my existence when partnered with Williams and Brando.

And this story... what is conveyed here is mostly lies. Or rather it is a target story that is transparently bankrupt. Its based on an embodied reality of sorts. But its a twisted vision. The racism is palpable. The superiority of the European eye and mind are overwhelming. The simple notion of good and evil is less nuanced than in Star Wars or its predecendent westerns, and is intolerable. (This may be simply because history advises that both the Soviet and Cuban experiments were more brutal than what they replaced.)

But what cinema! What life! Just inhabiting this world has adjusted my imagination and dreams. The focus is usually on the extraordinary flying camera, because its so obvious, striking. It is, and if it were just that, I would still get you out of bed and across town to see this. But the flying eye is integrated with an architectural expression that is far deeper. The actors and camera move through buildings, fire, smoke, cane, trees, exploding dirt. This is as amazing the first time, just in wondering how they did it. Knowing the technology used, it seems impossible, and that knowledge actually distracts. You have to see this several times to just get past the wonder at the talking dog.

Then you can get into the visual poetry of thing. It isn't about people at all. They matter not at all except as fodder for ennobling posters. What matters is the structure of the forces that surround and channel them here and there like turbulent banks. This is a project centered on those forces, incarnated as spatial forces. Where in another project you wonder how a dog can be so dramatic, here you wonder how the director was able to control fire and smoke to be so perfectly compliant. Its not embodied in the story, which is daft, but in the real world that contains it.

This is absolutely in the spirit of Tarkovsky, and is the only film I know that betters him visually. Its less human, but oh so spatial. You must, must see it.

Ted's Evaluation -- 4 of 3: Every cineliterate person should experience this.


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