REVOLUCION: FIVE VISIONS reframes the Cuban revolution through the art of photography, focusing on the personal stories of five Cuban photographers whose lives and work span nearly five decades of revolution in Cuba. From Havana to Miami, photographers on both sides of the political divide reveal the Cuban people’s resilient struggle for self-determination. Whether it is the passionate resistance of the revolutionary, or the individual artist's struggle to emerge as an independent voice in a collective society, the photographers in REVOLUCION reveal the defiance of revolutionaries and artists alike, and discover the power of art to liberate.
Through the stories of photographers from five generations, REVOLUCION explores changing and radically different ideas of the Cuban revolution. The film looks back on a revolution nearing its inevitable end to explore the impact of political revolution through the lens of artistic expression.
Shot on 24P hi-definition video by Mexico’s premiere director of photography, Chuy Chavez, the film is a breathtaking visual exploration of Cuba, yesterday and today. This one-hour (56:40), documentary features photographers Raúl Corrales, José Figueroa, Rogelio López Marin (Gory), René Peña, and Manuel Piña.
REVOLUCION is a co-production of El Sueño Pictures and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), in association with One Light Pictures and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). REVOLUCION: FIVE VISIONS has been selected to be part of the Emmy award winning series, Independent Lens and will premiere on national PBS on December 19, 2006. Check www.independentlens.com and your local listings for airtime.
With Cuba on the brink of radical transformation and the U.S. embargo clearly outdated, we need new ways of understanding the Cuban revolution that transcend the polarized pro-Castro versus anti-Castro dialogue. Through the eyes of the island’s photographers, REVOLUCION explores the yearning for freedom and self-determination that motivated Cuba’s revolutionaries five decades ago, and that continues to inspire Cuban artists today, both on the island and beyond.
For over a century, Cuba has dared to defy the "Yankee imperialists" 90 miles to its north. Since the triumph of the revolution, Cuba has also dared to dream of realizing a utopian society.
Cuba is the last outpost of utopian dreaming in the 20th century. Nowhere else can we witness the modern successes and failures of a determined people striving towards a social dream, as on this small island in the heart of the Americas.
Despite the revolution’s achievements, such as providing health care and education to nearly all Cubans, the cost of this daring, defiance, and dreaming has been severe. It has been a matter of life and death for thousands of Cubans, and has precipitated the exile of thousands more. Those who remain on the island have suffered limits to their individual freedoms as well as the effects of crippling economic sanctions.
To some, the revolution is a celebrated success. To others, it is a dictatorship. And to many more, it falls somewhere in-between. Through the work of five photographers REVOLUCION offers a multi-faceted vision of the rise and fall of the Revolutionary dream in Cuba.
Ultimately, we discover that the only place where our utopian longings really ever find satisfaction is through art.
In 1959, Fidel Castro recognized the mesmerizing power of images and selected a group of photographers to “tell the story of the revolution in pictures.” With this, Cuban photography became an indispensable tool for promoting the revolution’s struggle against Yankee imperialism, and for ensuring that Castro’s version of history would be remembered for all time.
Today, new generations of photographic artists continue to tell the story of the ongoing revolution in pictures. But the story they tell is very different from the one Castro set out to convey. Today, Cuban photographers use the medium to express dissent, criticism, and their own ideas of history and truth.