“Few film classics have traveled a stranger path to critical acclaim than I Am Cuba. Produced by the Soviet Union in 1964 as a celebration of the Castro-led Cuban revolution, the completed movie was criticized by its financiers for being all style and no substance. Thirty years later, the film was forgotten in the USSR and virtually unknown in the west when it became a film festival sensation, and new fans Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola eventually led the charge for its restoration.
Its politics are hopefully naïve and outdated, but the film is still a visual tour de force featuring a number of complicated tracking shots (including one famous shot that glides through a penthouse party before following a young woman underwater in a swimming pool) that are even more astonishing when you realize that they were done before the invention of the Steadicam or even smaller, lightweight cameras. The Ultimate Edition of I Am Cuba includes not only the restored film, but also an award winning documentary and a biography on director Mikhail Kalatozov which are both feature-length, all in a unique packaging designed to look like a Cuban cigar box.”
// Notes from the Road
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