Few new print re-releases are as welcome as Mikhail Kalatozov’s deliriously impressive 1964 polemical poem of a society on the cusp of transformation. The product of a distinctively Soviet take on the island’s history and aspirations, ‘I Am Cuba’ saw Kalatozov, fresh from Palme d’Or success for ‘The Cranes are Flying’, joined by that film’s cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky and poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko as co-writer. The result is a sensual four-chaptered epic of injustices exposed in Batista’s dictatorial Cuba, elevated by suitably revolutionary camerawork, its confidence a formal expression of faith in the island’s uprising. (Accompanying screenings of ‘making-of’ doc ‘I Am Cuba: the Siberian Mammoth’ reveal the invention at play.) It seems reductive to call this one of cinema’s great ‘lost’ works because this is one of the great films period, taking its place in the canon with urgency since its re-emergence in the 1990s. It’s out on DVD in March but for once the benign order to view it large is mandatory. Cinema’s singular dream, so often betrayed elsewhere, is to deliver such visions as this.
Friday January 13 2006
Cast and crew
Yevgeni Yevtushenko, Enrique Pineda Barnet
Sergio Corrieri Salvador Wood Luz Maria Collazo Jean Bouise