I AM CUBA
SOY CUBA
1964, Milestone Films, 108 min, Cuba/Soviet Union, Dir: Mikhail Kalatozov

Started only a week after the Cuban missile crisis, this film was designed to be Cuba’s answer to both Eisenstein’s POTEMKIN and Godard’s BREATHLESS. But I AM CUBA turned out to be something quite unique - a wildly schizophrenic celebration of Communist iconography, mixing Slavic solemnity with Latin sensuality. The plot, or rather plots, explore the seductive, decadent (and marvelously photogenic) world of Batista’s Cuba - deliriously juxtaposing images of wealthy American tourists with scenes of ramshackle slums. Cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky’s gravity-defying camera glides effortlessly through long, continuous shots, but beyond its bravura technical accomplishments, I AM CUBA succeeds in exploring the innermost feelings of the characters and their often desperate situations.


ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN’T
L’UNE CHANTE L’AUTRE PAS
1977, Janus Films, 120 min, Venezuela/France/Belgium/Soviet Union, Dir: Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda’s unsung feminist anthem is both a buoyant chronicle of a transformative friendship and an empowering vision of universal sisterhood. When 17-year-old Pauline (Valérie Mairesse) helps struggling mother-of-two Suzanne (Thérèse Liotard) procure the money for an abortion, a deep bond forms between them, one that endures over the course of more than a decade as each searches for her place in the world - encountering the dawning of the women’s movement, dreamy boho musical numbers, and an Iranian adventure along the way.


THE CANTERBURY TALES
1971, Park Circus/MGM, 109 min, Italy/France, Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini

On a pilgrimage to Canterbury, a group of travelers agree to share stories to ease the journey – and we’re treated to a riotous carnival of lecherous old merchants, deceitful young wives, naked satyrs, houses of prostitution, a handsome devil in rent collector’s clothes and much more. With stunning production design by Dante Ferretti (GANGS OF NEW YORK) and a haunting score of period music selected by Pasolini and Ennio Morricone. Winner of the Golden Bear at the 1972 Berlin Film Festival. With Hugh Griffith, Laura Betti, Ninetto Davoli, Franco Citti and Pasolini himself as Geoffrey Chaucer.


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