Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

Remarkable Film, 'I Am Cuba,' to Screen
at UW-Eau Claire Feb 16-19

RELEASED: Feb. 9, 2006

I Am Cuba posterEAU CLAIRE — "I Am Cuba," a joint Soviet-Cuban homage to the Cuban Revolution produced in 1964, will be presented Feb. 16-19 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. "An epic hymn to romantic Communism" (Variety), the film will screen at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

On Nov. 25, 1962, the New York Times carried a Reuters wire service report from Havana: "Mikhail Kalatozov, the Soviet director whose film 'The Cranes are Flying' won international acclaim, will begin work on a joint Soviet-Cuban production here in January ... The film, 'Soy Cuba,' will be based on a script by the Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko and the Cuban poet Enrique Barnet."

The announcement came just a year after the U.S.-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion and less than a month after the world had reached the brink of nuclear conflict in the Cuban missile crisis. Although the missile confrontation was a victory for the United States, there was still great international optimism and hope for Cuba's future. Castro's regime was devoting tremendous resources for schools, hospitals and literacy brigades and the Cuban people remained dedicated to their charismatic leader and his ideals.

Designed to be Cuba's answer to Sergei Eisenstein's propaganda masterpiece, "Potemkin," "I Am Cuba" turned out to be a wildly schizophrenic celebration of Communist kitsch, mixing Slavic solemnity with Latin sensuality. The plot feverishly explores the seductive, decadent and marvelously photogenic world of Batista's Cuba — deliriously juxtaposing images of rich Americans and bikini-clad beauties sipping cocktails poolside with scenes of ramshackle slums filled with hungry children and gaunt old people. Using wide-angle lenses that distort and magnify and filters that transform palm trees into giant white feathers, the acrobatic camera achieves wild gravity-defying angles as it glides effortlessly through long continuous shots. But "I Am Cuba" is not just a catalog of bravura technique — it also succeeds in exploring the innermost feelings of the characters and their often desperate situations.

"I Am Cuba" was never shown outside of the Soviet Union and Cuba. The film was effectively lost until 1995 when its theatrical release was jointly presented by filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.

"Its textural brilliance would be astounding in any context," wrote Variety. "Shot in shimmering deep-focus, high-contrast black and white, the movie is one gorgeous image after another ... a high water mark for the possibilities of cinematography. Taken as either historical footnote or mad aesthetic flight, 'I Am Cuba' is remarkable."

In Spanish and subtitled in English, the 141-minute film will screen at 6 p.m. with Russian overdub. At 8:30 p.m. it will screen without Russian overdub.

Admission is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727, in Davies Center's east lobby and at the door. The film is sponsored by the International Film Society.

-30-

JS/NW

Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

 

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.