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.
Documentary Filmmaker and Film Scholar
Michael Chanan is a documentary filmmaker and scholar, and Professor of Film & Video at the University of Roehampton. He is the author of several books including Cuban Cinema, having first visited the island in 1979, where he also filmed several times in the 1980s. His book The Politics of Documentary was published by the BFI in 2007, and his most recent film, Money Puzzles, was released in 2016.