I Am Cuba: a Celluloid Journey to the Forbidden Caribbean Isle
As Americans, we can't really travel to Cuba legally, so until the economic embargo is lifted, we'll have to experience the country through the eyes of others. As crummy as that is for the avid Yankee traveler, at least there are a few inspiring films out there that seem to provide a vivid glimpse into the northern Caribbean socialist republic. One of the most interesting of the bunch is a 1964 film entitled I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba), a Soviet/Cuban production depicting the dramatic events of the 1959 revolution.
While their approach to government might elicit a few sharp opinions here and there, there's no question that they knew how to make an inspiring, engaging motion picture. The above clip (if the quality is too lousy, try this one) uses long tracking shots for an zoomy overview of a bourgeois, pre-Fidel era pool party, a farmer burning a sugar cane field, and an austere procession that culminates in the release of a white dove. For a variety of complicated reasons, the movie was a flop in Cuba and the USSR when it came out, but after the fall of the Soviet Union, American directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola became so taken by it that they supported a remastered release. It's hard to watch this clip and not feel transported to Havana for one minute and forty-seven seconds.