I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba)

Critics Consensus

Visually absorbing and formally audacious, I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba) opens a long-buried time capsule that has lost none of its captivating power.



Reviews Counted: 34

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,522


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Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 4.3/5

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Movie Info

Hidden away in the Soviet archives for three decades, "I Am Cuba" is a wildly schizophrenic celebration of Communist kitsch, mixing Slavic solemnity with Latin sensuality -- a whirling, feverish dance through both the sensuous decadence of Batista's Havana and the grinding poverty and oppression of the Cuban people. In four stories of the revolution, Mikhail Kalatov's astonishingly acrobatic camera takes the viewer on a rapturous roller-coaster ride of bathing beauties, landless peasants, fascist police, and student revolutionaries.


Critic Reviews for I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba)

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (9)

  • 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.

    Sep 17, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Cinema's singular dream, so often betrayed elsewhere, is to deliver such visions as this.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It is one of the most visually hypnotic films ever -- and that's not hyperbole.

    Sep 30, 2005 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 13, 2005
  • 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.

    Jan 15, 2005 | Rating: 5/5
  • It really is a neglected classic.

    Dec 2, 2002 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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.

Lucas Martins
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.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

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!

Stephen M
Stephen M

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.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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