¡Luchando! Cuba's Struggle to Survive
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by Russell Porter
color, 55 min, 1994
This film was shot in Cuba in 1994. The opportunity came when Russel Porter, an Australian documentary filmmaker, was invited to teach at the international film and television school (EICTV) located some forty kilometers from Havana. He took the opportunity to make a film about life in Cuba today. He examines how people are surviving the hardships caused initially by the "blockade" imposed by the USA over 30 years ago and increased by the more recent loss of trade with the countries of Eastern Europe. The goal was to faithfully and objectively portray the current atmosphere and character of this "little island in the Caribbean." Apart from Russel and producer Denise Patience, the film crew was Cuban: cinematographer Alejandro Perez, sound recordist Lenin de los Reyes, production manager Elaine Santos, and local liaison Alex Alday.
Many performing artists were included including: a dissident theater group in Havana, a more traditional African theater group in Santiago, and the film star Jorge Perugorria. The central personality in the film is Abel Prieto, who is both the President of UNEAC, the national writers and artists union, and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. There are street interviews which reveal the range of the peoples feelings for their country. There is also a significant amount of indigenous music which gives us an idea of what Cuban music is like inside Cuba today.
The film is useful for Latin American studies, political science programs, cultural studies; theater, art, music, and human rights programs.