The film, Soy Cuba takes a poetic look at Cuban culture in the post-revolutionary period of society. The film outlines four segments of Cuban culture beginning with a story line of a young girl, Maria, who through poverty and despair is forced into prostitution, something she is very ashamed of. The next section of the film focuses on the rural countryside and the life of a sugar cane farmer, Pedro. When the farmer finally gets a good crop, he is informed he will not profit from it, and ends up burning it to the ground, and dying. The next segment involves university students who rebel against the police, focusing on the role of one student named Enrique . The final part shows how Mariano, a typical farmer, ends up joining the rebels in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, ultimately leading to triumphal march into Havana to proclaim the revolution.
The film is influential for the notions of the post revolutionary Cuban culture it portrays. “This, the revolution transformed the domestic class structure, and it ushered into power a government more committed to economic expansion and diversification than the one it displaced” (Eckstein 504). This film explains these different class structures, and gives an accurate portrayal of Cuban culture during this time period. There are also notions of Cuban economics, and the effects it had on the Cuban people is displayed throughout the film. The film outlines Cuban people from different class structures, and shows what they deemed necessary for survival.
Through these different people in Cuban culture, the issue of race is also brought forward. There are the white Cubans and the Afro-Cubans, and they are seen throughout this film. The understanding of the differences these races had is also seen in the film. The nationalist discourse surrounding the racial differences was seen to have multiple purposes and was interpreted differently. “It could be used by those who advocated silencing racial issues as a threat to Cubanness and national integrity, but it also provided a set of legitimate principles and goals for those who sought to turn the ideal into a tangible reality” (Fuente 45).
The main goal of the film is to display the differences in the Cuban culture, in this post revolutionary society. The film has American notions throughout the film, and the American presence is viewed as somewhat corrupt. It the first segment the clientele are all Americans, and have a powerful yet somewhat cruel air about them. In the second segment, the company buying Pedro’s land is American, even though it is done through the Cuban landowner. In the third story, the American sailors harass a innocent Cuban teenager, also seen as cruel and unnecessary. The last segment really has little American presence except for some of the weapons that are used. The use of including American imagery throughout the film aims to pin the Americans as somewhat cruel, but basically they aim to act as if Americans don’t have that much of an impact on Cuban culture.