Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?
Directed by Saul Landau
Documentary, 2010, 85 mins., Not Rated
Twelve years after five Cubans were arrested in America for espionage, Saul Landau has made a film hoping to bring the trial and harsh sentences of the men, who are now known as “The Cuban Five,” to the public eye. The film starts with Danny Glover quizzing people on the street asking if they know who the group of five men are. Some guess “a sports team? A vocal group?,” but very few reply correctly. Those who do seem to think they are terrorists. But Landau, an authority on Cuban affairs who obtained access to their film archives, has laid the groudwork for a better understanding of what led to their unjust convictions.
Landau, long involved with the Washington, D.C.-based left-wing think tank Institute for Policy Studies, is not new to filmmaking or the subject of Cuba. Back in 1960s he scooped the establishment media by visiting the island and hanging out with Fidel, gaining rare knowledge of the struggles on the island, and eventually making FIDEL, one of the first American films about the Cuban Revolution. Later, in 1988, he produced another probing documentary, The Uncompromising Revolution, once again addressing the challenges of the Cuban Revolution. Today he remarks, “Fidel and I have always had a professional relationship. In the film, he acts himself. He never commented on any of my films until 2009 when he said: ‘I didn’t appreciate at the time some of the questions you asked me. Now as I look back I think they were good questions. Tough questions.'”
His newest film, Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?, holds the position that our government has been jailing the wrong “terrorists,” leaving world-acknowledged assassins roaming our streets instead. The film fights formulaic structure with creative titling effects and some rare archival footage that must have been buried in Cuban vaults or possibly taken from Landau’s earlier film FIDEL, which was hardly seen by anyone at the time. Good reasons for that, however. Released at the height of the anti-Castro terrorist groups like Alpha 66 and Omega 7, bomb threats and U.S. anti-Cuban propaganda kept viewers away in droves, sort of like the current media’s disinterest in the cause of the Cuban Five.
The full review can be read at People’s Weekly as written by Bill Meyer: http://peoplesworld.org/filmmaker-asks-will-the-real-terrorist-please-stand-up/