Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Soy Cuba (for a few more days anyway)

One-part overwrought Soviet propaganda - one part cinematic eye candy, Soy Cuba is playing at London's ICA through 1 June 2006. This Russian made film from 1964 is a series of four vignettes set in Batista ruled, pre-revolution Cuba and portrays that period from the revolutionaries’ point of view.

I caught Soy Cuba last night and was as captivated as the first time I saw the film in the mid-nineties. Honestly, it’s a bit long (and ICA’s theatre seats aren’t the most comfy) at 141 minutes … and can feel even longer as the story attempts to beat viewers over the head with revolutionary dogma. Characters are caricatures: noble peasants and revolutionaries as good guys and slimy, lecherous Americans and bloodthirsty pro-Batista pigs as baddies. Still, the story is compelling and I gather even hardened McCarthyists would have been slightly swayed for a moment or two during a viewing. However, much of that swaying would be due the masterful cinematography, not the scriptwriting. Where Soy Cuba scores is with its long, mobile shots soaring above crowds of marching people, dashing across buildings, dipping into swimming pools – practically, going any and everywhere to tell one of the most effective (and stunning) visual stories in film history.

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1 comment:

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