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I Am Cuba (1964)

I Am Cuba (1964)

Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov
Not Rated / Narrative / 1 hour 48 minutes

Havana, late 50s. Helicopter-borne, the camera swoops from a dark sea over a lush tropical island, its palm trees like white feathers against an almost equally dark sky; then goes through and under a village on stilts amid the wetlands; a fashion show atop a skyscraper as the camera slides down to a rooftop swimming pool, and follows a dark-haired bikinied beauty into and under the water. And that’s just the beginning. Director Kalatozov (The Cranes Are Flying), along with legendary poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, screenwriter Enrique Pineda Barnet and camera-maestro Sergei Urusevsky, did for the 1959 revolution what Eisenstein had done for Russia’s, creating a riot of innovative photography, rapid-fire cutting, screen-filling close-ups, hair-raising handheld tracking shots, crane shots, elevator shots, and still-astonishing how-did-they-do-it shots. DCP restoration.

August 21-27, 2023

Sidewalk Film Festival

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