Havana, 1961

I’m doing some work for a publishing company at the moment on a story set around the time of the Cuban revolution of 31st December 1958. As part of the research, I came across this extraordinary documentary by the French Marxist filmmaker Chris Marker. He was in Cuba at the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and that upset colours the tone of the film, giving it an elegiac quality which led the French government to ban it on the grounds of its anti-Americanism. But what Marker is already mourning in 1961 is the loss of innocence of the revolution itself. The dance sequence that begins 40 minutes in is utterly beautiful.

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