Santiago Álvarez

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

  • Santiago Álvarez – La guerra olvidada AKA Laos: The Forgotten War (1967)

    This Cuban film focuses on the history of foreign intervention in Laos, first by France and then by the United States. It shows how the liberation forces of Laos, under continuous U.S. bombing, were able to run an entire society in hidden caves and tunnels. Through the leadership of the Pathet Lao, they organized schools, cultural activities, clinics, as well as political and military activities literally underground.Read More »

  • Santiago Álvarez – ¿Cómo, por qué y para qué se asesina a un general? AKA How, Why and For What is a General Killed? (1971)

    Alvarez’ documentary about the failed kidnapping and subsequent murder in 1970 of Chilean General René Schneider, head of the Chilean armed forces, in an attempt to prevent the ratification of Salvador Allende as President.Read More »

  • Santiago Álvarez – Hasta la victoria siempre (1967)

    Cuban agit-prop filmmaker Santiago Alvarez produced this radical newsreel within forty-eight hours of Che Guevara’s death by special request of Fidel Castro himself. Fellow filmmaker and Alvarez admirer Travis Wilkerson accordingly calls it “a pure distillation of the highly unusual conditions of production” that spurred Alvarez’s “urgent cinema.” Incorporating Guevara’s own speeches and documentary scraps from the Bolivian campaign, Alvarez’s resourcefulness is ever astonishing.Read More »

  • Santiago Álvarez – De América soy hijo… y a ella me debo AKA I Am A Son Of America… And I Am Indebted To It (1975)

    Santiago Alvarez’ account of the trip by Fidel Castro to Chile in November 1971, expanded into an historical view of imperialist exploitation across Latin America.Read More »

  • Santiago Álvarez – Hanoi, martes 13 AKA Hanoi, Tuesday March 13th (1968)

    Filmed in Hanoi on December 13, 1966, this documentary records the lives of people in the Vietnam capital and surrounding countryside at the height of U.S. bombing. “One of Alvarez’s indisputable masterpieces, this is a film of great sensitivity. It also displays the greatest integrity and is constructed with the greatest economy of means… Although the means are of the simplest, the editing is exceedingly subtle. The narrative line is there, yet it’s anything but linear. The result is that the film informs in a way quite alien to what documentary orthodoxy has taught us to expect.”Read More »

  • Santiago Álvarez – Ciclón AKA Cyclone (1963)

    CICLÓN is a coverage of hurricane Flora’s sweeping the Cuban provinces of Camagüey and Oriente in October 1963: the damage, the evacuation of the villages, and the aid to victims.Read More »

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