The Cuban Revolution was an enormously important step in the life of Latin-Americans in Cuba. People fought the rude Batista regime, and this was the thing that united them. Therefore, several groups opposed the dictator’s cruelty and acted from different sides as well as points of view, but hatred and will of freedom helped them to stay together all through the way to victory. It is hard to comprehend how so many individuals with similar goals could not defeat Batista in the shortest terms. Thus, in the analysis of the revolution one should compare the groups themselves, their inner way of understanding, the aims, along with the ways of fighting and realize how helpful and effective the actions of the revolutionists and their allies were. The historical facts and such films as Clandestino, David, I am Cuba and The Siberian Mammoth may help in achieving the purpose of this paper.
There were many groups fighting the Batista’s regime. Besides, these were religious groups, because the Spanish people are mostly devoted to religion; the civic and middle-class groups that really founded the revolution; the student underground Directorio Revolution led by Echeverria; the M267 underground organization with their leader Frank Pais. Nevertheless, many other groups existed. They had one obvious goal in common that was the victory over the Batista regime, but the methods and details differentiated them seriously. The example could be the scene of a conversation in I am Cuba when two students talk about the ambitious plans for future. One of them says about his will to go and kill the dictator and the other one stops him and asserts that this will not help, because the aim of his group was not to remove Batista himself, but to change the organization that may improve the situation in Cuba. Moreover, these were the individuals from two different, but similar camps, namely the DR and the M267, and during this scene, one may follow the idea of their main disagreement widely represented in the movies.
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Jose Antonio Echeverria was the President of the Student Federation and headed the anti-Batista movement named the Directorio Revolucion (the DR) that fought against the regime and quickly understood the necessity to broaden the forces and to struggle harder. He spoke to the people of Cuba; his speeches were enthusiastic and passionate. The DR had the authority in Havana mostly. In comparison to the Fidel’s movement that built the revolution from the underground, the Echeverria’s approach emphasized decapitation of regime from the top for confronting the regime and rebuilding the government after bare elections. The students all over Cuba went on demonstrations that became more and more violent.
Although, the DR and other groups had different methods of fighting, they helped those in Sierra Mountains in every possible way. As it is evident from the movies, the Sierra was a sort of hideout, and the revolutionists could reach it for a kind of rest. For instance, the movie Clandestino shows the activity of only one of the organizations, in particular the M267 that aimed at assassinating leaders of the Batista regime (Lapur & Perez, 1987). Hence, they were mostly hunted and violently beaten by the police. It keeps the viewer in a constant revolutionary tension and sympathy to the rebellions. Carmen “from the veterans” says that their organization sent loads of arms and medicine to the Sierra, so it demonstrated that outside people helped those who were inside as much as they could and it really made them feel happy and useful. Even a joke occurred when Ernesto comes to visit Carmen’s apartment and offers to teach the parrot to talk, “Batista, la puta!” (Lapur & Perez, 1987). Thus, this is a funny moment, but it may also be treated like an attempt of feasible assistance in emotional fighting with the dictator’s forces, I mean that the parrot may not be punished for the things it does not understand, it juts copies the sound. Another powerful tool of influence and information is the media; therefore, the rebellions realize as well as use it wisely and thoughtfully. For example, in the episode when together with one of the rebellions Nereida comes to visit Se?or Sanchez and makes an arrangement of advertising the so-called new product CEDIP on the radio, television, in the press and under the slogan “03T”, which was created for calming the nerves and stood for zero tension, zero torment and zero tragedy, as she explained (Lapur & Perez, 1987). Se?or Sanchez was very pleased and excited that there was a market for such a good product during those anxious times and confirmed the deal with delight. However, of course, he could not expect that the nice woman was one of the dedicated rebellions and the “03T” meant zero theater, zero trade, and zero tyranny. Ernesto planned to flood Havana with the symbolic posters with the inscription “Down with Batista” for a week. In reality, there existed a propaganda campaign “3C” led by Emilio Guide. Nevertheless, this is only one of many examples of how inventing and smart the rebellions’ help was.
The movie David tells the viewer about the significant figure of the revolution Frank Pais and his enormous contribution and role in the Cuban revolution. He is known to be a talented organizer and allied with Fidel Castro in Mexico, even though Echeverria did not join, but supported their common views on the dictator’s regime. In comparison to Fidel, Pais and Echeverria fought the regime by means of demonstrations and strikes, their men openly showed dissatisfaction with Batista’s ruling. Although the goal of the film was to deconstruct the Pais’s image of a “hero”, only the contradictions of his character and unbreakable love for his country reveal that he was a great person with all his soul tortures and wonderful poems he created. As one can see from the movie, Frank taught his men justice. The latter was cruel, but Pais adjured never to loose respect for life. His comrades always knew that taking the life of the enemy is a measure they had to pay for the revolutionary justice (Canosa, n.d.). It may seem too inhuman and rude, but the Batista’s regime led to this; therefore, to surrender meant to die for people who loved their freedom above all. Fighting was the only way.
Strong emotional support was supposed to be sent from the Soviet Union to Cubans that is reflected in I am Cuba and The Siberian Mammoth. Tres Mundos Production was the evidence of the first co-production between Cuba and the ex-Soviet Union. One of the aims was to show the beauty of the Cuban people from their inner and outer world that was shadowed because of the hard times, which the country suffered from (Martinez & Ferraz, 2005). The passion to the Cuban music, the delight of the Cuban military women, the light in the eyes and the hearts full of fire and belief, all these things were seen by the viewers of I am Cuba and The Siberian Mammoth (Fridman & Kalatuzov, 1964). The Cuban temperament is not equal to the one of a Soviet man; hence, Kalatuzov gives the characters a little bit more romantic and timid features than the real ones. Consequently, this might be the factor that did not make the film I am Cuba popular at the time when it was released, but nowadays when it gets a status of a part of a history the movie gains popularity and interest from all over the world including Cubans. Unequivocally it was also an important attempt to provide assistance to the people of Cuba during the Cuban revolution.
To summarize, cinematography plays a very significant informative and historical role in supporting the allies or depressing the enemies, revealing the past events or influencing the present and the future. In cases of Clandestino, David, I am Cuba and The Siberian Mammoth, the viewer may taste the great spirit of revolution, the feeling of complete passionate dedication to the goals of the characters and see how different they were, but at the same time the audience may notice how effective the cooperation and help to each other may be in the thirst of winning. Unfortunately, the life of most heroes was too short. They devoted their lives to freedom. The victory took much time and many lives, but to my mind, it would be impossible without mutual support and active collaboration between the fighting groups and those outside Cuba. Although the DR and the M267 fought the regime in their specific ways and the methods were not the same, they all won the cruel battle with the Batista forces. It is believed that the winners write history and I agree with this fact. Fortunately, the actions on the screen may not fully reflect the real physical pain the heroes suffered, but the emotions shown in the stories seem very strong and real.