A ìLifetime of Passion,î inferring either Fidel Castroís longevity or the almost half century Cubans have lived under the Castro-led revolution, is how filmmaker/Loyola Marymount University professor Glenn Gebhard describes the current Cuban situation in his new documentary.
Cuba: A Lifetime of Passion, directed by Gebhard and narrated by Michael York, explores the ideological, social and economic divisions between Cubans and exiled Cubans, explores the history of the Cuban Revolution and looks at the current quality of life for ordinary Cubans. The film gathers opinions and predictions from both Miami and Havana about life in Cuba in a post-Castro era.
Cuba: A Lifetime of Passion will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20th, at the Santa Monica College Art Complex Room 214, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Admission is free. Gebhard will host a post-film discussion.
The film talks to officials of the Cuban Government; members of CDRs (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution), which are neighborhood groups made up of citizens vigilant in the defense of the socialist way of life; and ordinary Cubans struggling through daily life.
The filmmakers go 90 miles across the Florida Straight to Miami, where the population is made up of the families of Batista loyalists and original opponents of the 1959 revolution as well as those who have become disillusioned with the Cuban government in the decades since. Another portion of the population in Miami is portrayed as apolitical, having fled to Miami for financial gain and a richer standard of living.
U.S. State Department officials, authors and academics also are interviewed in the film to provide perspective.
Castro loyalists interviewed in the film, including Manuel Yepe, a Cuban official who also was part of the Revolutionary army at age 19, describes a society of friendship, solidarity and equality, where each Cuban has access to health care and education.
Miami Cubans interviewed in the film, including Esteban Bovo-Carus, who fought in the failed CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, are to this day equally as passionate about the fall of the Cuban Revolution and a return to a pre-Castro capitalist mode of Cuban society.
Though many of the Miami Cuban families that were once wealth before the Revolution have been embittered over the loss of riches, many others criticize what they call a lamentable human rights record in Cuba.
Huber Matos, once a military hero of the Cuban Revolution and later condemned by Castro as a traitor spending 20 years in a Cuban prison, expresses his hope for Cubans that remained in Cuba and those who fled to Miami to resolve their differences in post-Castro times.
In the film, Matos quotes a poem by Jose MartÌ, considered the father of Cuban independence: ìI cultivate a white rose in July as in January for the sincere friend who gives his hand frankly, and for the cruel person who tears out the heart with which I live, I cultivate neither nettles nor thorns, I cultivate a white rose.î
Matos relates this to the divisions between the Cuban people and the Miami community ó divisions he hopes will be solved peacefully.
ìThis verse is against hate, against extreme violence, against lies and agoism,î says Matos in the film.
Information, (310) 434-4543.