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Cuba Documentary Reviews: Critics on 'Three Cubans'

By    |   Thursday, 03 Mar 2016 05:27 PM

The “Three Cubans” documentary is surrounded by controversy and had to overcome many obstacles before completion. Its maker, Robert Cohen, was the first to be allowed to film in Cuba by both the U.S. and Cuban authorities, according to SnagFilms.

The film follows the lives of three Cubans from upper, middle, and working-class backgrounds, getting a view on the revolution and life under Castro’s regime. After completing the documentary, Cohen found it difficult to distribute the film through normal outlets. It remains one of the only documentaries of its kind from the early times of Castro’s Cuba.

The documentary is still able to elicit discussion and has had many reviews.

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Jane M. Loy, a University of Massachusetts associate professor, gave a detailed synopsis of the characters and the context of the setting of the 1960s for the modern, younger viewer, according to radfilms.com. In her review, Loy told the story of the making of the film and its relevance for today’s watchers. She wrote: “As the first film made by a North American about Castro's regime, ‘Three Cubans’ is an immensely valuable visual record of the changes good and bad that had been effected by 1964. Moreover, its controversial reception when first aired over public television in March 1965 gives much insight into North American attitudes toward Cuba in the post Bay of Pigs, post missile crisis years.”

SnagFilms also reported details on the background story of the making of the documentary, citing the difficulties Robert Cohen had in trying to get the film shown and a complete tax audit, as examples of government interference. The site also has the documentary available to stream. The reviewer has a high opinion on “Three Cubans,” writing: “Three Cubans provides one of the best documentations of the early effects of Castro's revolution on the people of Cuba.”

The film caused a stir at the time of its first screenings for its perceived pro-Castro views. In a Miami News report of April 1963, Mary Louise Wilkinson wrote of the controversy from a screening of the documentary. The film shown under its original title of “Three Faces of Cuba” came under fire from author and critic Edward Hunter. In the report, he is quoted as saying: “This film is fallacious in that it only presents a small portion of the truth.”

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The "Three Cubans" documentary is surrounded by controversy and had to overcome many obstacles before completion. Its maker, Robert Cohen, was the first to be allowed to film in Cuba by both the U.S. and Cuban authorities, according to SnagFilms.
Cuba, documentary, reviews, Three Cubans
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2016-27-03
Thursday, 03 Mar 2016 05:27 PM
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