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I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba)

I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba) (1964)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.8/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 4,353

My Rating

Movie Info

An unabashed exercise in cinema stylistics, I Am Cuba is pro-Castro/anti-Batista rhetoric dressed up in the finest clothes. The film's four dramatic stories take place in the final days of the Batista regime; the first two illustrate the ills that led to the revolution, the third and fourth the call to arms which cut across social and economic lines. A lovely young woman in a nightclub frequented by crass American businessmen takes a customer to her modest seaside shack for a night of pleasure

Jan 18, 2000

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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (0) | DVD (10)

Some of the most exhilarating camera movements and most luscious black-and-white cinematography you'll ever see inhabit this singular, delirious 141-minute communist propaganda epic.

September 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cinema's singular dream, so often betrayed elsewhere, is to deliver such visions as this.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is one of the most visually hypnotic films ever -- and that's not hyperbole.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The resulting assault is so epicly impassioned it's less about Cuba per se than the fusillade of movement, shadow, light, vertigo, and landscape on the viewer's tender optic nerves.

September 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is a dream of life in which everything is reduced to black and white. Or as the rhetoric used to go, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Nothing was ever quite that simple.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In a sense, it's a movie about looking past surfaces to see what's in front of you. It takes the time to look around and discovers majesty, beauty and pathos everywhere it turns.

February 21, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the most technically impressive films of its time, and one of the most politically naive.

March 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A work of dazzling cinematographic invention that still has the ability to astound.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

Politics, propaganda and poetry are whipped into an exotic cinematic cocktail in Mikhail Kalatozov's delirious tribute to the Cuban revolution...

February 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

Being suppressed by those who wanted [I Am Cuba] made in the first place is a vindication of sorts. Mere propaganda only reinforces the status quo. True art is revolutionary.

December 12, 2007 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

This loony, quasi-masterpiece is one of the great jagged edges of film history.

November 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

visual impressions that will forever remain embedded in your mind's eye%u2014just as much as Picasso's La Guernica communicates the horrors of war

November 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

a chest-thumping source of pride for the Soviet government, full of inciting imagery, enormous filmmaking prowess and the flavor of revolution

November 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Considering the power of the film today, it's hard to believe it fared poorly when audiences finally saw it.

November 19, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

I Am Cuba is a cinephile's wet dream, a collage of Herculean feats of technical wizardry that would be easy to dismiss if it wasn't so humane.

November 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The result is a technically astonishing mixture of optimistic Stalinist kitsch, agitprop and the epic Soviet style of the Twenties.

January 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Politically na´ve maybe, but it works beautifully as straight cinema.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The film is immensely entertaining and occasionally inspiring, a delirious combination of Slavic solemnity, Latin exoticism, Communist idealism and breathtakingly beautiful images. It is best enjoyed on the big screen.

August 29, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Propaganda that transcends its own numbskull earnestness... When it connects, it's as poweful as anything you've ever seen.

June 26, 2004 Full Review

The film fails to convince in its propaganda, but as a goofy view of a new Cuba it is heartily appreciated.

January 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It really is a neglected classic.

December 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Audience Reviews for I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba)

A revolutionary cinematographic! Astounding film! Beautiful black and white photography, Kalatozov use a magnificently camera movements plan sequence. Visually hypnotic, great storys with politic and poetry, the fight for a revolution and free oneself of a dictatorial goverment.
May 9, 2011
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Manipulative? Yes
Propaganda? Yes
Breathtaking? Absolutely.

An absolute must see for fans of cinematography. Most of the film is composed of full mag single takes. It's like Children of Men on on meth.

This film inspired PT Anderson's long steadi-cam shot that goes into the pool in Boogie Nights.
July 14, 2009
kenstachnik

Super Reviewer

Whatever this Soviet-Cuban co-production's failings as a piece of propaganda, as an exercise in bravura camerawork it is simply astonishing. The film was badly received in both the U.S.S.R. and in Cuba, where it was accused of being too soft on capitalism and even of having a counter-revolutionary agenda! It's not difficult to see why, particularly in the first episode - in which three slimy U.S. businessmen draw lots for a reluctant prostitute - which fairly revels in the very 'decadence' it is supposed to be condemning.

The second story also concerns the perceived exploitation of Cuba by the United States, as a sugar farmer's land is sold out from under him to an American fruit importer. Once again, an intended dig at the capitalists next door is nullified by what I consider to be the most joyous scene in the whole picture: relaxing after a hard day's work in the sugar field, a brother and sister drink bottles of Coke and dance to jukebox music.

If the film's attitude toward the U.S. is surprisingly ambivalent, it's genuine fury is reserved for the regime of the overthrown General Batista, in episodes three and four, as the revolution gathers momentum. Despite the fact that third story climaxes with perhaps the most stunning individual shot in the entire movie, I generally found the second half of I Am Cuba less visually arresting than the first; I guess decadence must be more cinematic than ideological browbeating. I enjoyed the soundtrack a lot!
January 13, 2009
harrycaul

Super Reviewer

I really didn't enjoy this one as much as I enjoy other foregin flix. The Secenes were great, but the story line just didn't do much for me, maybe if I was cuban, not sure though. You try it out see what you think.
December 22, 2008
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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