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Cuba Documentary Reviews: Critics, Viewers on 'Here Was Cuba'

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 06:43 PM

The documentary “Here Was Cuba” is directed by Irish filmmaker Emer Reynolds. The film covers the time of the Cuban missile crisis and the attempts by the Kennedy administration to stop the Soviet Union from placing nuclear weapons on the island.

The subsequent breakdown in relations between the two superpowers nearly led to an all-out nuclear conflict. The documentary makers talk to aging members of the Whitehouse and Kremlin staff from the time to get an insider’s view of the events from 1962.

Here are some of the critical opinion and viewers’ reactions to the film.

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In The Hollywood Reporter, critic Stephen Dalton praised the makers of the documentary for not straying too much into familiar territory and keeping the viewer interested right to the end: “This tension is skillfully sustained throughout, given that everybody watching knows the ultimately peaceful outcome of this real-life end-of-the-world thriller.”

In the independent film magazine, Noripcord, the reviewer
Ryan Finnigan is also full of praise for the Irish documentary. Though he thinks the film may be a bit short at 75 minutes and therefore does not cover all of the issues, he still sees it as one worth watching. He finished his review by writing: “certainly one not only to be seen by people with an interest the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis but also by anyone wishing to see how fragile the existence of mankind is in the nuclear age.”

In his blog, viewer Kenneth Sloane gives the documentary a stern review. Sloane is scathing of some omissions to the story by the makers and points out that, though made by an Irish company, it was part financed by PBS. This, he reckoned, could give “Here was Cuba” a pro-American slant. Sloane wrote in the piece: “the one disappointing element in this reiteration of the events of October 1962 is that ‘Here Was Cuba’ never strays too far from the received narrative which has framed the Western conception of the Cuban Missile Crisis for over half a century.”

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A reviewer on Film Ireland praised the documentary after a viewing at the Galway Film Festival. He called the film insightful, writing: “the film is a gripping examination of that important event in modern history, which portrays the moment when the world came closest to self-destruction in the three-way nuclear battle between Kennedy’s U.S., Khrushchev’s Soviet Union, and Castro’s Cuba.”

The reviewer also praised the use of music in the documentary and how the makers did not patronize the viewers by telling them a story they already knew.

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The documentary "Here Was Cuba" is directed by Irish filmmaker Emer Reynolds. The film covers the time of the Cuban missile crisis and the attempts by the Kennedy administration to stop the Soviet Union from placing nuclear weapons on the island.
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Tuesday, 01 Mar 2016 06:43 PM
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