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Produced by Mosfilm and ICAIC, I Am Cuba was started only a week after the Cuban missile crisis and was designed to be Cuba’s answer to both Sergei Eisenstein’s propaganda masterpiece Potemkin and Jean-Luc Godard’s freewheeling romance Breathless. But I Am Cuba turned out to be something quite unique: a wildly schizophrenic celebration of Communist iconography, mixing Slavic solemnity with Latin sensuality. The plot, or rather plots, feverishly explore the seductive, decadent (and marvelously photogenic) world of Batista’s Cuba, deliriously juxtaposing images of rich Americans and bikini-clad beauties sipping cocktails poolside with scenes of ramshackle slums filled with hungry children and gaunt old people.

Using wide-angle lenses that distort and magnify and filters that transform palm trees into giant white feathers, cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky’s acrobatic camera achieves wild gravity-defying angles as it glides effortlessly through long continuous shots. But I Am Cuba is not just a catalog of bravura technique; it also succeeds in exploring the innermost feelings of the characters and their often desperate situations. Shown unsubtitled at the San Francisco International Film Festival, I Am Cuba received two standing ovations during the screening. 

Includes an introduction by Alex Cox. (APRIL 15)

Selected Filmography: The Cranes Are Flying, Letter Never Sent, The Red Tent

Food Pairing Suggestion:

Volunteer Louise Pare recommends a mojito with empanadas from Caba Empanadas' food truck at the Grower's Market.

(This is a Members Only screening. $2 discount will be applied at checkout.)

  • Year
  • Runtime
    141 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    USSR, Cuba
  • Director
    Mikhail Kalatozov
  • Screenwriter
    Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Enrique Pineda Barnet
  • Producer
    Mikhail Kalatozov
  • Cast
    Luz María Collazo, Salvador Wood, Héctor Castañeda, José Gallardo, Raúl García
  • Cinematographer
    Sergei Urusevsky
  • Editor
    N. Glagoleva
  • Music
    Carlos Fariñas