I Am Cuba

Movie Information

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present I Am Cuba at 8 p.m. Friday, Mar. 4, at Phil Mechanic Studios (109 Roberts St., River Arts District, upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com
Genre: Propaganda Drama
Director: Mikhail Kalatozov (The Cranes Are Flying)
Starring: Sergio Corrieri, Salvador Wood, Jose Gallardo, Raul Garcia, Luz Maria Collazo
Rated: NR

Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba was made in 1964, obtained a brief Japanese release in 1968, and was buried in the Russian archives for almost 30 years until Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola gave it new life in 1995. In so doing, they gave us one of the most technically impressive films of its time, and one of the most politically naive. When it was made, the idea behind this Soviet-Cuban co-production was to show Cuba as it was under the thumbs of its capitalist oppressors and usher in its glorious future under its communist saviors. The problem—apart from the fact that the glorious future wasn’t quite that glorious—was that the film, for all its technical panache, was no more subtle than a 1920s propaganda movie from Sergei Eisenstein. The evil capitalists—mostly “ugly Americans”—are too evil and too silly to take quite seriously. It’s not that the film was wrong, it simply tried too hard. Technically, however, the movie is a knockout—a knockout with some reservations, but a knockout.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.