Seminal Image #794


Soy Cuba (I Am Cuba)
(Mikhail Kalatozov; 1963)

3 comments:

Vanwall said...

Altho interesting as both a technical exercise and a propaganda broadside, I much prefer Kalatozov and his cinematographer Urusevky's previous collaboration "Летят журавли",(Letyat Zhuravli) - "The Cranes are Flying", the Soviet Russian 'Gone With the Wind', a remarkable film in any country, but more so in the CCCP, a nation of wintry repression which had a rare spring day in the late '50s - early '60s. The direct antithesis of "Soy Cuba", Kalatozov and Urusevsky created an amazing visual and well-acted romantic WWII tragedy, unspoiled by base propaganda that was the usual in the Soviet era, with the lovely and extremely talented, (but also extremely underused) Tatyana Samojlova, and also starred possibly the greatest Soviet or Russian film actor ever, Aleksey Batalov, and a crackerjack supporting cast who were nothing short of remarkable themselves. The script had moments of sheer poetry, and the common slang was refreshing
and so realistic - and no punches were pulled in delineating good and evil, which most of the characters had in a real human way. There are shots and sequences that were decades ahead of their time, particularly with some sort of steady-cam effect with handheld shots. It is literally jaw-dropping in sequences, much like "Soy Cuba", but it uses every shot as a way to move the plot along and express a deeper understanding of each character's roles and feelings. It was quite the wonder to see it in a high-school Russian class, a Cold War wonder from the oppressive Soviets, with no pretenses and immense art. While I love looking at "Soy Cuba", I love watching and experiencing "The Cranes are Flying" ever so much more.

swac said...

No argument there, The Cranes are Flying is definitely a more satisfying film overall, but Soy Cuba is still a visual knockout (and I was just in Cuba, which prompted me to take another look at it).

SomeNYGuy said...

I've yet to see "Cranes," but "Cuba" blew me away. Does anyone know where I can get a recording of the "decadent" nightclub song, "Loco Amor"? It's been haunting me!