[box cover]

I Am Cuba

I Am Cuba is propaganda, but it is beautiful, stunning propaganda, with images so bold and potent they fill the movie's naive political statements with incredible power and emotion. Its loose narrative of four thinly interwoven stories has an unmistakably narrow purpose: to glorify Fidel Castro's successful 1959 Communist revolution. Directed by Russian auteur Mikhail Kalatozov in a fever of cinematic gusto, I Am Cuba marries the physical lyricism of Leni Reifenstahl's 1938 Nazi tribute Olympia with the dazzling visual invention of Fellini and the audacity of Orson Welles. The star of this show is cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky, whose deep, high-contrast images consistently transform the stick-figure characters first into people, and then into indelible icons. It's a miraculous trick, and one that turns a possibly tedious polemic into a great (albeit misguided) treasure. A must for all film lovers and commie pinkos. Despite some inevitable wear from age, I Am Cuba is nonetheless gorgeous in this 1.33:1 transfer. There is only one audio track, in Dolby 2.0 mono Spanish, Russian, and some English. With optional English subtitles. Trailer, snap case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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