Cuba

Fernando Pérez – Clandestinos (1987)

“Clandestinos” is the second film in First Run Film’s new Cuban Masterworks Collection and it is a dynamite film. It is a tense political thriller which centers on the romance between two Cuban revolutionaries as they fight for their lives against the secret service of Batista in the 1950’s. The film is based on actual events which occurred during the early days on the revolution in Cuba. Read More »

Fernando Pérez – La vida es silbar AKA Life is to Whistle (1998)

The film tells the stories of three end-of-the millennium Cubans, whose lives intersect on the Day of Santa Barbara (the African Saint Chango, ruler of destinies). Mariana, a ballerina, ponders breaking chastity vows she made to land the coveted role of Giselle; Julia has fainting spells each time she hears the word “sex,” and Elpidio, a musician, seduces a gringa tourist while Bebe, the narrator, takes us for a taxi ride along the streets of Havana. In Life Is to Whistle, Fernando Perez displays the same cinematographic lyricism that won his first film, Madagascar, the Special Recognition in Latin American Cinema award at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Read More »

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Las Doce Sillas AKA The Twelve Chairs (1962)

Plot outline from IMDB:
When her country is taken over by socialist revolutionaries, a wealthy woman can’t bear to give up all of her wealth and possessions to the new government, so she hides all of her treasures in the 12 chairs of a dining-room set. After her death her nephew finds out what she had done and, since the chairs had been “nationalized” and are now in the possession of a dozen different people, he sets out to track them down and get the treasures he believes rightfully belong to him. Read More »

Santiago Álvarez – LBJ (1968)

LBJ is deservedly one of Alvarez’s best known shorts, a stunning piece of visual and musical montage using found materials, reaching a high pitch of satire Alvarez seems to have reserved for President Johnson. The film contains three main sections, with a prologue and an epilogue. The sections correspond to the three letters of Johnson’s initials. Alvarez uses them to stand for Luther as in Martin Luther King, Bob as in Robert Kennedy, and Jack or John, his brother. It’s a bold play on the strange coincidence that the corpses of these three men littered Johnson’s ascent. The film steers pretty close to libel, so to speak, in linking Johnson to the assassinations, but this is not the point…. What Alvarez does is to portray Johnson’s presidency as the culmination of a whole history of socio-political corruption, not of individual presidential corruption of a kind that was yet to come. Read More »

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Historias de la revolución aka Stories of the Revolution (1960)

A look at the cuban revolution told from three different perspectives in
italian neo- realist style, the first film of legendary cuban film auteur Tomás Gutiérrez Alea.

Quote:
Three vignettes about war in Cuba feature a wounded fighter, guerrilla bombardment and a funeral cortege. Read More »

Santiago Álvarez – La guerra necesaria AKA The Necessary War (1980)

Alvarez’ longest documentary examination of the Cuban Revolution, this contains exceptional interviews with Fidel, Raúl, Almeida, Vilma, Haydee, Celia and Faustino Perez, among other key players in the Revolution. Read More »

Santiago Álvarez – 79 primaveras AKA 79 Springtimes (1969)

An agit-prop documentary marking the death of Vietnamese nationalist leader Ho Chí Minh, using found footage to link his work to worldwide political movements including the Cuban revolution and resistance within the USA to the Vietnam war. Read More »