Yo Soy Cuba

 <br /><div class="MsoNormal">Mikhail Kalatozov premiered his film <i>Yo Soy Cuba</i> in 1964 only to have it forgotten for the next thirty years. But its innovative film techniques would lead to its revival in towards the end of the century. The film has beautiful shots of Cuba and incorporates a variety of film angles such as bird’s eye view, worm’s eye view, long shots, and close-ups that are used interchangeably. </div><div class="MsoNormal">Following in footsteps of Eisenstein, <i>Yo Soy Cuba</i> has a distinct form of narration. It is divided into four stories. The film begins with the story of Maria, a young Cuban in the pre-revolution period. The second story is of a Cuban sugar farmer who upon learning that the competition from an American company will run him out of business, lights his sugar cane on fire. The third and fourth stories are set during the revolution and follow the lives of Enrique, a student in favor of the Castro regime, and Mariano, a farmer who joins the revolution.</div><div class="MsoNormal">The first story displays the gap in social hierarchy in Cuba. Initially, there are scenes of the people that live in huts, then it moves to a thriving party at the pinnacle of civilization. The audience sees wealth. In fact, Cuba was not performing too badly economically. Just before the revolution, Cuba was one of the most developed Latin American countries, and it held a high GDP and GDP per capita (Eckstein 503). Of the countries of Latin America, it had a high standard of living.<span>&nbsp; </span>It had a heavily capitalized way of life due to the major role of the United States. Cuba held the second largest amount of American investment (503). Consequently, Cuba relied much on trade. As the American that Maria bags leaves, her neighborhood is far from the luxuries of the city. This shows the wide gap of living standards. Even though on paper Cuba looked prosperous, it was still a poor country. American capitalism is seen as an enemy around this time in Latin America. Also occurring in this time is that Marxism is seen as a solution for decolonization around the world (Chasteen 264). In the second story, although another Cuban farmer is the face of the competition, the rival company is still an American powerhouse. Because of people like Che Guevara, who blame Latin American poverty on “imperialist international economic system of awesome power,” countries turned to Communism (265). Although more influenced by Marxism than Communism, Castro found an ally in the Soviet Union. Under Castro, the nation would see one of the most impressive redistributions of land and wealth (518). He was able to boast of an impressive land reform, universal healthcare and primary school education (518). However, trade relations with the United States made Cuba into a trade vulnerable nation (511). The US was an enemy not only to Cuba but any place where Marxism and Communism existed. </div><div class="MsoNormal">Castro envisioned and promised a different Cuba. Even though he had setbacks overtime, he managed to keep his word. This is what compelled people like Enrique and Mariano to join the change. The message of Soviet director Kalatozov was that every Cuban regardless of social standing or race could be united for a better cause. Communist ideology promotes a classless and race less society. In the late Seventies, Cuba claimed a decline in racial inequality, consequently using racism to discredit the US social order where race was still a big issue (Fuente 61). The four stories tell very different stories of four very different people but at the end of each story, the narrating voice always states, “Yo Soy Cuba.”</div><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4507342150998272570-8973477113245689073?l=aoutk475.blogspot.com' alt='' /></div>