In I am Cuba, Soviet filmmaker Mikhail Kalatozov’s take on the Cuban revolutionary experience, the great Russian director attempted to create a film as powerful as Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin.
About I am Cuba
Set in the mid-1950s during the Batista dictatorship, the film traverses four loosely narrated stories portraying life in pre-revolutionary Cuba. Each episode is held together by a spoken monologue beginning with the words “Svoi Kuba (My Cuba or I am Cuba)”, depending on the English translation.
Shot in luscious black-and-white and demonstrating acrobatic camerawork, the film is an exhilarating visual experiment by Mikhail Kalatozov’s cinematographer, Sergei Urusevskii, in what the director and his cameraman termed ‘emotional camerawork’ – a technique to express characters’ feelings through camera movements. The film was scripted by the Russian poet and essayist Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
Disowned by Cubans as a romantic Russian take on the revolution experience, I am Cuba remained practically unknown outside of Cuba until it was rediscovered in the early 1990s. It is now considered a masterpiece of world cinema.
About the Screening
Kino Klassika is proud to present the film on 35mm with a print generously supported by Contemporary Films. The screening will be accompanied by an introduction from Michael Chanan.
Prof Ian Christie
Documentary Filmmaker and Film Scholar
Ian Christie is Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck College and a Fellow of the British Academy. He is the co-curator of our exhibition at GRAD Unexpected Eisenstein. He co-curated Eisenstein: His Life and Art (Oxford Museum of Modern Art/Hayward Gallery, 1988). Ian also co-edited Eisenstein Rediscovered (1993) and The Film Factory: Russian and Soviet Cinema in Documents, 1896-1939 (1988). He is the author of monographs on Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger and Martin Scorsese.