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This evening March 16 2008, I saw the video on PBS in high-def. It fascinated me as I remember the beginning of this revolution, scattered across the front pages of a local paper, reading it in Maastricht Netherlands, on the floor of my Grandparent's living room. For many in Europe this revolution appeared to be some kind of super-ideological event, and some intellectuals later visited Castro as tho he was some kind of God, conveniently forgetting in their naiveness that he was an intolerant egomaniac, and that in their visit they came off as a bit stupid, like moths attracted to a bright light. Now the revolution is tired, its slogans meaningless and Cuba sputters on throughout the video, surviving on its 1950's cars and 1950's sputtering electrical system. As even the aging photographer said. "These are all pictures of the past." The quality of the photography is beautiful, the photographer-artists themselves are unique. Buy this video.
I have travelled to Cuba several times and it continues to haunt and confuse me. It is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful and frustrating places I have ever been. This doc has given me a great deal more understanding of a place I continue to have great hope for. Hope that more individual freedom comes to its people, and that it escapes being overrun by Western corporate greed and commercialism.
Luis T Puig
Union City, NJ
I am Cuban America, born in Habana in 1965 and came to the US in 1980 in the "Mariel Boatlift" at the age of 14.
Seen this documentary brings a lot of memories of living under that system, that even today has so many people completely in a never ending spell, even thought it is an illusion created by a master magician...Castro. I DO know the system!, I grew up in it! I was a Pionero (comunist youth), I know...!the forced comunist indoctrination even from very early in life, like "Primaria" (Grammar School), the enless repetitions of slogans of "Seremos como el Che" (we will be like el Che) whether you liked it or not, over and over again... repetition repetition repetition...get it in you head, get it in your, head get it in your head...! comunism or death!...all of that, along with no freedom of assembly, no freedom of free speech (you go to jail for even the slight critizism of the system), no other polital parties....! The Comites de Defensa de la Revolucion (comunist party members) in every block watching your every move and reporting it to the system to keep you in line. The island is just one big prison, were you follow the crowd or you are "persona non grata"... or worse! As for the massive gathering in La Plaza the la Revolucion..? I remember my mother coming home from work many times and telling us how her day had been and of how the party members had again comed in to their work place and told them that they had to go to another one of their rallies in La Plaza or they would loose their jobs...! And having to listen to Fidel for hours rambling on and on and on...Such FORCED Public support uh..? "just beautifull..."!
So perhaps some will pay attention to the parts were it is mention in the film the story for example of small businessman having his busines taken away from him, of the families torn apart, the enless political fotos of El Che...and maybe, just maybe will get the sense that the Cuban "paradise" is not such a thing...but really a nightmare were even today part of my family is STILL trapped in!
And to all of the ones here that say it is a good place I would invite them to move there and give your places here in this imperfect BUT working Democracy to my family that would know and appreciate better the opportunity and luck of having the privilige to live anywhere else other than in present day Cuba!
New York, NY
Nicole & Sam put together an EXCELLENT piece that I thoroughly enjoyed watching!
I have never seen this side of Cuba. This is the best way to understand Cuba, through it's art and it's artists.
This was done by the wife of radio talk show host and author of Fubar - Sam Seder of Air America Radio fame.
It is fantastic to see how talented and insightful this two are, each in their own right. Nicole is a dynamic director. I cannot wait to see her next project!
What an amazing piece of filmmaking. I expect anything televised in the U.S. to be pure anti-Castro propaganda, so I was exceedingly surprised and pleased. Rather than attempting to settle a score, the film actually created more thought and asked more questions than could possibly be answered in a lifetime.
Photography in particular is a challenge to define since it is an art, a technical trade, a segment of the mass media, and much more. I don't think the role of art, or politics, or community, is universally felt or understood, but a product of the culture and environment one comes from, along with one's unique life experience.
I was happy to see a somewhat current documentary about Cuba. I am interested in the people there and how the collapse of the Soviet Union has affected Cuba. I thought that through the artists, the situation of Cuba was portrayed realistically. I enjoyed the different viewpoints about American culture. I am very curious who was the band singing the last song on the documentary? A Great Piece of Work!!
Karen R. Shevet Dinah
This film is a fascinating commentary on the Cuban revolution and a compelling juxtaposition demonstrating how essential art is to political theory. However, I was disappointed that the viewer meets only 50% of the participants in the revolution -- the male half. I have traveled on the island on two occasions in the last two years and can testify that many strong, brilliant and inspirational female voices are missing from this film.
Great film. Not only did it show a broad view of Cuban photography, but it also introduced me to the band Orishas (2 of their songs are used in the film, very strategically it seems to me). Bravo!
Robert J. Denton
Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
This was an amazing piece of film. I have not been more captivated by an hour of film
in my life. I feel that the documentary photographer (still and motion) must be "shadow"
figures, lurking, stalking and recording. The photographer has a responsibility to the
viewer and must let the viewer do the final "cropping" by presenting a raw image that is
complete. The photos in this piece were such photos. Aplauso, aplauso.
I would say that this film touched me in a special way. I always had a fraternity feeling with Cuba since I share most of the values that the "revolucion" has brought to Cuba. As a young independent person that's much involved in politics I can say that this documentary made me think about the way I see social development and the society around me. I believe that "revolucion" means changing the way a population lives and keeping this different way of thinking alive forever.
Brilliant program, beautiful photography, thought provoking work.
Mi bisabuelos son Cubanos. I know nothing else of my heritage. Watching the pbs filmstrips was very emocional for me. I want to visit Cuba one day. Its like needing a massage or a good cry. I wonder if those photographers could find in me those pictures that are missing.
I was pretty much impressed with this presentation of Cuban photography.
I agree 100% with Gory's statement and for example here in Kingston the aperture of the statue at the "Emancipation Park" posed thousand of questions about the readiness of the Jamaican society to nude, and rupture of old patterns and taboos. I am not sure that photography had played a role of questioning as much as to show the beauty of this country.
It is my opinion that revolution is that change that comes from within each of us and challenges the external world.
Community is the source of raw material for any manifestation of art and artists and photographers among them have the possibility and the ability to write history "as it is being written"
Beautiful and engrossing. It is still in my mind. I had an opportunity to visit Santiago last year and it fell through. How can I get back? More importantly, can we see the poem from "Gory" one more time. It was so visual and real.
It was a total joy and very enlightning, artistically, historically and socially...Well done.