I Am Cuba

(Soy Cuba / Ya Kuba)
Cuba/USSR 1964. Dir: Mikhail Kalatozov. 141 min. DCP

“Visually staggering... Taken as either historical footnote or a mad aesthetic flight, I Am Cuba is remarkable.”
DENNIS HARVEY, VARIETY

“Absolutely astonishing. I Am Cuba is that rarity of rarities — a genuine hidden treasure. It puts to shame anything we’re doing today.”
MARTIN SCORSESE

NEW RESTORATION! One of the most ravishing films ever made has been re-released in a lustrous new restoration. Prepare to be astounded! Directed by Soviet veteran Mikhail Kalatozov (The Cranes Are Flying), and shot, sensationally, by his gifted cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky, this joint Cuba-USSR production was intended as a Battleship Potemkin for the Cuban people. Its four up-the-revolution episodes were designed to illustrate the decadence of Batista’s pre-Communist Cuba. The film unfolds as a rich, propulsive, impressionistic panorama of Cuban life, culture, economic disparity, and political strife. Urusevsky's acrobatic, gravity-defying sequence shots are truly breathtaking; few movies are more sensual or seductive. Tepidly received in both socialist countries, I Am Cuba was shelved and largely forgotten. It rediscovery in the 1990s was a major cinematic event. “A feverish pas de deux of Eastern European soulfulness and Latin sensuality... It suggests Eisenstein filtered through La Dolce Vita with an Afro-Cuban pulse" (Stephen Holden, New York Times).

 

REVIEWS

"Some of the most exhilarating camera movements and most luscious black-and-white cinematography you'll ever see."

Chicago Reader | full review

"Deliriously impressive ... It seems reductive to call this one of cinema’s great ‘lost’ works because this is one of the great films period."

Time Out | full review