Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fidel: The Untold Story (movie review)

I've not been to Cuba.  My friend Glenn has, several times, in connection with his work for CDI and such.  I've taken to crafting a brand of science fiction that's rather close to investment banking in some ways, and Cuba appears in that, growing its ties with the European and Canadian firms that have a slice of the US economy as well.

This file was itself distributed by Mongrel Media, which is more aimed at Canadians than Movie Madness in Portland, but DVDs get around.  First Run Features is also a distributor.

I'm motivated to see other Estela Bravo documentaries.  She gets talking heads you don't see in just any documentary.  Philip Agee, Angela Davis... Harry Belafonte, and of course Fidel himself, speaking candidly with the director (not a screen presence).

We also get great footage of Nelson Mandela, Ted Turner, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nikita Khrushchev, Mike Wallace, Jack Nicholson, Malcolm X, the Pope and many others.  Lots of Che. When it comes to having a front row seat on history in the making, Fidel has that "box of chocolates" guy beat (hello Tom Hanks), without being such a drifter.  He's a world leader we've been lucky to have in many dimensions, making the 1900s a little less of a nightmare.

Like Muhammad Ali, Fidel was seriously disappointed he didn't get to meet Ho Chi Minh, though he did get to Vietnam, against which USA presidents were squandering lives, as prisoners of collective fantasies.

Islands have different dynamics than vast contiguous landmasses, like continents.  Always speaking of the USA as "a giant" to the North reinforces this sense of a monolith, but that's largely an illusion of statism.  As Roger Paget was pointing out at Wanderers, shipping patterns have changed in Indonesia to where no one port controls all the others (a new pattern).  Statism is giving way to more organic evolutionary patterns in many dimensions.  We go around the embargo by importing web site bits.

Relations with Cubans is a proposition Oregonians are free to explore independently of New Yorkers or citizens in the District of Columbia or Guam (both non-states).  There's some irony in having the highly interconnected space of private companies (with private jets) re-shaping capitalism and doing social engineering at the same time.

I'm interested in building Portland's reputation as a source of anime and manga, and see the University of Havana as a possible ally in this regard.

Cuba is well positioned to stay a trusted brand in ecologically aware tooling and investing, as well as schooling, medical care and disaster relief (lots in common with Portland).  We shall see.