Monday, March 29, 2004

Thoughts on Oliver Stone's Comandante

Some of the criticism this film has received--namely, that Stone fails to ask the "hard-hitting questions--is valid. Stone is, however, not a journalist, but a filmmaker (and a very good one at that!). And what he has done in Comandante is to provide his audience with more of a portrait than a documentary. A portrait "shows" us--presents us with an image, not necessarily a fact (in the case of Comandante, facts are used to provide context, not to demonstrate)--while a documentary "tells" us (or, at least, should)--its currency is fact.

Stone manages to show why Castro has been able to retain power: Castro is intelligent, forward-thinking, and--above all--perceptive (at least as far as contemporary socio-cultural matters in Cuba and the wider world are concerned; I'm not an expert in American/Soviet/Cuban relations of the Cold War, so I can't speak to his obviously subjective insights there.)

I found especially interesting Castro's willingness to admit that he has made mistakes during his tenure (although he never did cite any examples--not even after Stone pressed him to name something he would do differently had he a second life.)

It's a film worth watching, whether you agree with Castro or not. And I truly hopes the CBC obtains the rights to air Stone's following with Castro (the follow up is supposed to deal with the executions, imprisonments, et cetera that were subsequent to Stone's first series of interviews.)

Again, Comandante will be repeated on CBC Newsworld at 1 a.m. this morning and at 10 p.m. on Friday, April 2nd.

Now, on a lighter note:

Led Zeppelin
Classic rock! Without you the other genres
wouldn't exist! You are the raw and original
sound of rock! Other genres may try to imitate
your rawness, but they can never be like you!

What genre of rock are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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