Per The Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Cuba will start talks on normalizing full diplomatic relations, marking the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades, American officials said Wednesday. The announcement comes amid a series of new confidence-building measures between the longtime foes, including the release of American Alan Gross and the freeing of three Cubans jailed in the U.S.
At Cinema Libre Studio, we have long been looking at the complicated decades long struggle the US and Cuba have faced, and are proud of two films in our catalogue that take major activists and filmmakers into uncharted territory by exploring Fidel Castro’s relationship to the island nation of Cuba.
FIDEL provides a unique view of Cuba’s controversial and most polarizing leader. In 1968, Castro took filmmaker and activist Saul Landau on a weeklong jeep ride through the eastern mountains. There, he plays baseball with a group of peasants, visits his pre-school and trades jokes with a 98-year old man. Fidel also listens to the people’s concerns about food distribution, bad roads and transportation. Landau captures Cuba’s revolutionary chief early in the morning in his tent. The camera zooms in on his dirty and delicate fingernails holding his trademark cigar while he tells a story of Símon Bolivar and offers tactical advice to guerrilla warriors throughout the Third World.
The film contains rare and fascinating archive footage of the Bay of Pigs invasion and scenes of Che Guevara alongside interviews with political prisoners. Spectacular photography and editing with hot Cuban music provide the cinematic aesthetics that give this film beautiful form to accompany its exciting content.
Academy-Award® winning director, Oliver Stone delivers a candid, in-depth conversation with one of the most controversial world leaders of our time, Fidel Castro. Stone challenges Castro to explain actions following the execution of three political dissidents who attempted to hijack a ferry to the United States in April 2003. Castro’s response and his actions were condemned worldwide, further isolating Cuba.
Stone was given unprecedented access, interviewing not only Castro, but many of the prisoners, their wives, leading dissidents and human rights advocates — all of whom express their views forcefully in the emotionally charged environment of Cuba today.
Whether or not you accept Castro´s world view, Stone´s, tough but fair portrait helps to illuminate Cuba’s unique and complicated place in the world.
Is Castro a moral leader defending his small island against a superpower or is he an ironfisted tyrant who tolerates no criticism? Or is the truth somewhere in between?