Watch the full film on the
Welcome to Fandor. Watch thousands of award-winning films online. ×
also known as Soy Cuba

I am Cuba1964

  • 4.4
Started only a week after the Cuban missile crisis and designed to be Cuba's answer to both Sergei Eisenstein's propaganda masterpiece, BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, and Jean-Luc Godard's freewheeling romance, BREATHLESS, I AM CUBA turned out to be something quite unique (a wildly schizophrenic celebration of Communist kitsch, mixing Slavic solemnity with Latin sensuality). The plot, or rather plots, feverishly explore the seductive, decadent (and marvelously photogenic) world of Batista's Cuba, deliriously juxtaposing images of rich Americans and bikini-clad beauties sipping cocktails poolside with scenes of ramshackle slums filled with hungry children and gaunt old people. Using wide-angle lenses that distort and magnify and filters that transform palm trees into giant white feathers, Sergey Urusevsky's acrobatic camera achieves wild gravity-defying angles as it glides effortlessly through long continuous shots. But I AM CUBA is not just a catalog of bravura technique, it also succeeds in exploring the innermost feelings of the characters and their often desperate situations. Shown unsubtitled at the San Francisco International Film Festival, I AM CUBA received two standing ovations during the screening. The first movie ever jointly presented by master filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, I AM CUBA is one of the great discoveries in cinema. It will change your view of cinema forever!

Copy embed code

×

What makes this film worth watching? See All Reviews

2 members like this review

The great Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov was commissioned to make a film celebrating the Cuban revolution. Nobody really liked the results ... Cubans thought it presented a distorted view of Cuba, and the Soviet government was unhappy with the artiness of the completed film ... so it was essentially shelved. Rediscovered decades later, this is an astonishing piece of work. It's not really a great film from a narrative point of view. It tells four stories that are attempts to show the necessity of revolution in Cuba, but while they demonstrate that life could be pretty awful in pre-revolutionary Cuba, they don't really do much to convince the viewer that life would be any better in post-revolutionary Cuba (and the first segment manages to make the night life in pre-revolutionary Cuba look amazing). It's this film's visual inventiveness that makes it a must see. Besides some of the more famous sequences, like the several story drop to poolside and into the pool, the film is just generally an astonishing visual spectacle. Come for the politics, stay for the visuals.

Picture?width=100&height=100
top reviewer

Member Reviews (6)

Picture?width=100&height=100
top reviewer

The great Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov was commissioned to make a film celebrating the Cuban revolution. Nobody really liked the results ... Cubans thought it presented a distorted view of Cuba, and the Soviet government was unhappy with the artiness of the completed film ... so it was essentially shelved. Rediscovered decades later, this is an astonishing piece of work. It's not really a great film from a narrative point of view. It tells four stories that are attempts to show the necessity of revolution in Cuba, but while they demonstrate that life could be pretty awful in pre-revolutionary Cuba, they don't really do much to convince the viewer that life would be any better in post-revolutionary Cuba (and the first segment manages to make the night life in pre-revolutionary Cuba look amazing). It's this film's visual inventiveness that makes it a must see. Besides some of the more famous sequences, like the several story drop to poolside and into the pool, the film is just generally an astonishing visual spectacle. Come for the politics, stay for the visuals.

2 members like this review

I first saw this film 20 years ago in the Art Institute in Chicago and was completely enthralled. While I am a serious hater of the Castro regime and what it has done to the Cuban people, I am well aware that our own involvement in Cuba was less than stellar. It was created as a propaganda film and it does a good job of it. What is sad is that poor Cuba remains the victim of no matter what government in in charge.

One of the biggest artistic achievements of the twentieth century. You can praise it for its fantastic black and white high contrast cinematography, or the amazing fact that the movie is always looking for the right excuse to make the camera flow -the camera is continuously moving but not just for aesthetic purposes, it helps the storytelling too- but it's the historic meaning and its approach what really makes it much more than a film, and then becomes an essay... An experience.

This is a love letter to Communism, pure propaganda. As history has prove, some milestones in art start as pure promotional assignments, like Battleship Potemkin was or the Riefenstahl documentaries financed by the German Nazis. This is the testament of the influence of Soviets in Cuba, both artistically and historically.

This film has a heart. The points that it tries to prove are legit. Batista's Cuba was corrupted and was established as a playground for Americans. Lands were sold, the peasants were mistreated, the women were cheap objects, the censorship was intense. As history also proved, communism wasn't better either and it would eventually become corrupted too. Yet, the ideas of the film remain pure and full of evoking thoughts of change.

This film is a must see. Socially speaking, belongs to a place saved for movies like The Grapes Of Wrath and The Battle of Algiers. Cinematically speaking, Eisenstein's and Tarkovski's masterpieces are just as influential as this film.

I gave it 3 stars for the beautiful photography. I am sure that the Cuban people are not better off today. Let's face it Cuba is an economic basket case and the repressive communist regime is colpubable. Beautiful island and beautiful people. Hope change for the better will come soon.

Artistic portrayl of life before Fidel and the upcoming revolution. While a bit of propoganda, the essence of the story is real. Photography in black and white is excellent.

I originally saw this back in the late 90's and honestly...outside of the first 5 minutes, I remembered none of it. It proved to be quite a treat as the whole film moved like a giant dream sequence with its emphasis on extended length single shot scenes. Easily watched.