Friday, October 12, 2007

Documentaries on US/Cuba Relations

Been pretty busy this week, and regret I couldn't get to this earlier. This entire week the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival has been showing some great films and two documentaries I wanted to highlight.

One documentary is the The Man of Two Havanas which tells the story of Max Lesnik, whose Replica magazine was the target of several bombings in the 70's in Miami. The film was directed by his daughter Vivien Lesnik Weisman, who describes the film as an exploration of their father/daughter relationship, and seen through the lens of US/Cuba politics. In a DemocracyNow! interview, Lesnik Weisman recalled living in Miami in the 70's: "I was aware when I was growing up that we were bombed and that there were drive-by shootings in our house, and I lived in a constant state of siege, like a war zone."

Max Lesnik's history with Cuba is complex, but he advocates that US policy towards Cuba be changed, the embargo lifted and supports steps towards normalization.

"If Americans come to Cuba they could know Cuba. They don’t understand it because they don’t know it. Since the beginning of the confrontation between Washington and Havana, hundreds of senators, representatives, mayors, governors...have visited the Island and have learned the Cuban perspective. Once they listen to the Cuban side of the story, they understand it."

The film was shown this past Wednesday, and will be repeated today at 3:15pm (PST) at the Arclight Cinema Theater.

The second documentary is titled Tell Me Cuba by Megan Williams. It's a documentary that film critic Phoebe Flowers says "takes a complex and divisive subject and captures it with a clear-eyed, intelligent perspective." I saw this film last year when it premiered in Miami Beach and I thought it was a very intelligent film too. It packs plenty of information, old film footage, and plenty of interesting interviews as well. Check out the website, especially the clip with Orlando Bosch, and then think about purchasing the movie to see the entire interview, its very revealing. The Tell Me Cuba website also has a WPLG Channel 10 interview with Megan Williams and other goodies.

The film will be shown on Sunday at 1:15pm(PST) at the Arclight Cinema Theater.

Full schedule of the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival is available in PDF format.

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