Thursday, July 3, 2008


My suppressed film snobbery is about to be unleashed... I think there's some potential for poetry in motion here:

"'Soy Cuba' suggests Eisenstein filtered through 'La Dolce Vita' with an Afro-Cuban pulse (Stephen Holden, NYT)."

(via Scott Tobias, Onion AV) "When Mikhail Kalatozov's 'I am Cuba'— a long-lost, phantasmagoric Cuban-Soviet propaganda film from 1964— was rediscovered and reissued in late 1995 by Milestone (with the prominent support of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola), critic Terrence Rafferty wrote the following in his New Yorker review: "They're going to be carrying ravished film students out of the theaters on stretchers."

That's about right. Personally speaking, I certainly needed medical assistance to reattach my jaw, which had dropped permanently to the floor during one of the film's famed tracking shots. Though 'I Am Cuba' is fascinating enough as an historical footnote—and I'll get into that in a second—the reason it endures is almost exclusively cinematic: Given the virtually unlimited resources of two countries at their disposal, Russian director Kalatozov (The Cranes Are Flying) and his cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky turned the newly Communist Cuba into a lush playground where they could experiment with wide-angle lenses, whooshing camera moves, and towering crane shots held for minutes at a time. Their assignment was to affirm the revolutionary spirit that had just given birth to a new Cuba, but within those broad parameters, they were free to pull off all the technical wonderments they could dream up. After all, in a movie where the country itself serves as voiceover narrator, there's no danger in getting bogged down in the particulars of character."



Mikhail Kalatozov

Wikipedia Entry

Guardian Review


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