“I am Cuba, the Cuba of the casinos, but also of the people.”
Despite its origins as a work of Soviet-Cuban political propaganda, Mikhail Kalatozov‘s I AM CUBA (“Soy Cuba”) remains a singularly stunning and historically relevant cinematic achievement set in and around Havana circa Cuba’s 1959 revolution. Decades after its release the film holds its own as something of a visual poem; a stylish, contemporary study in contrasts that is (seemingly) shot in one astonishing, single take. I AM CUBA takes a multi-narrative approach and follows several characters’ stories, including a young woman whose fascination with the excess of an American-owned casino leads to her downfall in the eyes of her street vendor boyfriend, a tenant farmer revolts the only way he knows how, a group of university students who gain first-hand knowledge of political upheaval, and the members of a poor rural peasant family in the hills outside the city who find themselves patriotically swept up into the burgeoning revolt. (Please note: This film screens with English subtitles.)
“As nearly as I can tell, this is all done in one unbroken take. How it was done, I have no idea. It is interesting not only for its technical skill, but also because it betrays a certain interest in la dolce vita that is not entirely in keeping with the movie’s revolutionary, agitprop stance.” (Roger Ebert)
“Cinema’s singular dream, so often betrayed elsewhere, is to deliver such visions as this.” (Time Out)
“It is a dream of life in which everything is reduced to black and white. Or as the rhetoric used to go, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Nothing was ever quite that simple.” (New York Times)
Monday, December 19
Doors 5:45 pm | Movie 6:15 pm
Tickets $10 advance HERE | $12 at the door
*Minors permitted in the balcony! Must be 19+ w/ID for bar service and main floor seating.
**Groupons and passes OK! Please redeem at the door.
I AM CUBA “Soy Cuba” (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1964 / 141 mins / PG / English subtitles) An unabashed exercise in cinema stylistics, I AM CUBA is pro-Castro/anti-Batista rhetoric dressed up in the finest clothes. The film’s four dramatic stories take place in the final days of the Batista regime; the first two illustrate the ills that led to the revolution, the third and fourth the call to arms which cut across social and economic lines.