“Rapid population growth and urbanization were creating massive shortages of the most basic social necessities.”
Soy Cuba’s strongest message was it’s anti-American, anti-imperialistic ideas. It really showed how Americans came to Cuba hoping to have a good time and suck every bit of life out of it. They did not care whether it was at the expense of the people living there. One perfect example of this was in the bar. The bar was in a Cuban indigenous theme showing the American’s misunderstanding of the Cuban culture. They just saw the statues and the costumes as a game to be consumed. But for the people working there it was real. Many times such as the girl they had to sacrifice real happiness for capitalism.
Susan Eckstein is able to show why and how the pre-revolutionary Cuba was made. One of the reasons is because of the economic suppression that Batista had on the country. She is able to portray this through her graphs by showing that economically Cuba never came up on top until 1980.
The most significant part of Eckstein’s essay was about the changes brought on by Revolution. As shown in Soy Cuba sugar was an exploitative and corporate crop. The man who has leased out his land to the man loses it to the United Fruit Company. But as Eckstein points out, “Sugar workers, enjoy more social benefits, job security, and earnings-in comparison to other workers-than before the revolution.” This showed that by the revolution occurring they were benefited. It follows well the theme of the movie that they are Cuba and have to further live and die that way. She also shows what changed for all workers, “Workers on the state farms were granted year-round employment, social benefits, and wage increases.”
That is one of the defining parts of the movie about who and what Cuba is. By using the Vignette format Mikhail Kalatozov uses a form that Eisenstein also used. The difference is that this movie is in the final format so that this movie’s point is brought across completely. Soy Cuba is a whole spectrum of the Cuban life experience. From the indigenous to the prostitute to the family in the mountains suffering from the results of revolution. It was also a very honest movie. In the scene where the man has paid the woman for sleeping with him he walks through the shantytown and is barraged with kids. This is such a strong portrayal, as if to say you have paid for the woman and also for the town in which she is from. They want the watcher to really see where she is from. What she has to deal with everyday.
This vulnerability brought on by a strong revolution could be an invitation to outside sources. So the happy exciting ending that is at the end of the movie could lead to an eventual unhappy revolutionary government.
“To anti-communists, especially in the United States but also in Latin America, the surgery of social revolution created a Frankenstein’s monster-unnatural, powerful, and frightening.”
Till next week,