Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #55: Fidel Castro (2005)

Fidel Castro looks like Liam Neeson.

While continuing my brush-up on Cuban history, which started with Che: Part One, I realised that I knew next to nothing about Fidel Castro. Figured I should learn a bit about a man, the leader of a small third world country, who has, incredibly, put in his bid to direct the way the world spins. Turns out there's two documentaries on the bearded wonder, Fidel and Fidel Castro, the latter of which is a PBS production and part of The American Experience series. The first is a well-narrated and comprehensive rundown of Cuba's history that plays out like an A&E biography with still photographs and steady pacing, where the second is comprised mainly of more intimate footage of the man. My favourite parts, and perhaps the most telling, were the moments where you're given a stretch of footage, without any commentary, and you're forced to draw your own conclusions as to whether or not Castro is a just man, a tyrant, or just a man. The two work together well in painting a portrait of Castro, but the second adds a much more human face to the Cuban revolution and the military leader.

So: If you're looking to brush up on your Cuban history and can't be bothered to read because you're a busy bee and/or an illiterate drone, I can think of no better way.

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