I Am Cuba Is the Pick of the Week

Despite the fact that legendary Soviet filmmaker Mikhail Kalatozov was apparently a Communist and his 1964 masterwork I Am Cuba is pure propaganda, it is really hard to deny the visual splendors it continues to bring to many film lovers all the world.

Buy I Am Cuba Blu-ray

Told in four vignettes that showcase Cubans loving, living, and surviving during a time of great struggle and also transformation, you really get the sense of liberation taking place there, and it feels like real life being filmed in real time. You also get some of the most dazzling and striking “how did they accomplish this?” tracking shots, including the greatest funeral sequence in film history.

Some may be put off by the film’s obvious politics, but to overlook them is to miss out on the essential important of this shimmering and radical masterpiece of cinema.

Making its 4K UHD and Blu-ray debut from Criterion this week, I am looking forward to the supplements, even though there aren’t that many. They include “I Am Cuba,” the Siberian Mammoth, a 2004 documentary on the making of the film featuring key participants; a 2003 interview with Martin Scorsese; a new appreciation of the film by cinematographer Bradford Young; and trailer. There’s also a new essay by film critic Juan Antonio García Borrero.

If you happen to own Milestone’s three-disc DVD, then I would hold on it. If not, then this release should make an amazing addition to your collection.

Other great releases:

Nostalghia 4K UHD/Blu-ray (Kino): A 1983 Tarkovsky masterpiece about memory, melancholia, and disenchantment with the bleak, material world.

Household Saints (Milestone): An indie dramedy about three generations of Italian-American women struggling to get by in post-WWII New York’s Little Italy.

The Scarface Mob (Arrow): A tense TV-movie about the lawmen who battled the deadliest criminal in American history: Al “Scarface” Capone.

Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom Trilogy (Mubi): A new box set consisting of the acclaimed Danish absurdist supernatural horror miniseries trilogy created by von Trier and Tómas Gislason.


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