‘I Am Cuba’ in all its forms


The surreal Spanish shimmy video of an earlier post was a reminder of all things Cuban, which led, in turn, to the film I Am Cuba (1964) by the Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov which is one of the most extraordinary things ever put on celluloid.  Frankly, the script (written in part by the Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko) is a disappointment: heavy-handed as propaganda and unmoving as melodrama.  No matter: the camera work (by cinematographer Sergey Urusevsky) is mindblowing, not just in the length of individual takes but in the distance traveled by the camera — and this in the pre-Steadicam era.  The scene above is perhaps the film’s most famous. 

The first of the clips below is a single take that begins on a rooftop and ends underwater; the second is a shot-for-shot Lego version of the same, which is clearly the work of someone with too much time on their hands yet, also, a wickedly imaginative sense of humor.

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