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Though lesser known than Leni Riefenstahl’s OLYMPIA or Kon Ichikawa’s TOKYO OLYMPIAD, Santiago Alvarez’s tribute to Cuba’s sporting triumphs is no less breathtaking. A ship of athletes training on the rough seas becomes a symbol of Castro’s Cuba, the games projected on the backdrop of political struggle: “This is the story of a ship and of a sports delegation whom the ENEMY tried to stop from participating in the Tenth Central American and Caribbean Games.” Alvarez’s bristling montage may be put to didactic ends but there’s a significant remainder of joy in his celebration of work. Rhetoric is inseparable from rhythm as Alvarez remains ever attentive to the specific manifestations of the body politic.

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