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Biography - Fidel Castro: El Comandante (A&E DVD Archives)
Biography - Fidel Castro El Comandante
A&E DVD Archives
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2005     0hr 50min

He stood defiantly at the center of some of the worst crises of the Cold War. After nearly 40 years of rule he remains one of the most controversial political figures of the century.System Requirements: Running Time 50 Mi...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Biography
Studio: A&E Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/26/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 0hr 50min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Reviews Here Say More re Castro's Struggles Than Film
Dana Garrett | 04/29/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)

"You should take note of the purported location of the other reviewers on this page. That is significant because their reviews bear little, and most often no, resemblance to the film. One can only wonder if the reviewers are from the exile Cuban community or are their fellow travelers. In my estimation, the relative high ratings that the reviewers gave the film is their attempt to induce you to purchase the film since it mostly trashes Castro and the revolution in Cuba. The only "credit" that film accords to Castro, in rather amorphous and fleeting ways, is:1. The universal health care system in Cuba.2. The elimination of illiteracy in Cuba (although one pundit in the film makes the dubious claim that literacy in Cuba is not universal).3. The low infant mortality rate in Cuba.4. The rise of Cuban nationalistic pride. These, of course, are not small accomplishments for a third world country subject to 44 years of an American embargo, invasion by CIA trained forces, frequent acts of sabotage and provocation by violent elements in the exile community, numerous CIA inspired assassination attempts on Castro and other members of the Cuban leadership, frequent diplomatic bullying of other nations by the US State Department to accede to US policies regarding Cuba (esp. 3rd world countries dependant on US aid), an unremitting barrage of US inspired radio propaganda to the Cuban people to resist their government, apparent and unrelenting dissemination of disinformation about Cuba as is, arguably, indicated by the reviews appearing here and so on and so on. As should be expected, the film makes little of these moral crimes against the Cuban people. Nor does the film seem to interview people clearly sympathetic to Castro.Castro is not interviewed once. The reviewer's claims about Barbara Walters interviewing Castro, his singing, etc. are bogus. They are not in the film.The fact that Castro isn't interviewed is telling: the film does not allow Castro to answer the charges made against him. That way the charges stand unadjudicated, as it were--lurking as potential smears. That is this film's damning liability.The film does have good scenes from Cuba and some interesting clips of Castro. Otherwise, I recommend that you find a film that is willing to assume the politically risky possibility that Castro and Cuba just might have a perspective."
Even-handed view of Castro and his revolution
Charles Ashbacher | Marion, Iowa United States(cashbacher@yahoo.com) | 12/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"No single person can more polarize the American political climate than Fidel Castro does. A small number of anti-Castro Cuban exiles in south Florida still wield political power far beyond their numbers, even though it has been over four decades since any of them set foot on Cuban soil. A trade embargo that was imposed by President Kennedy, largely as a temporary measure, is still in place and the shrillness of the rhetoric has not abated. Despite all the U. S. efforts to topple him, Castro remains the undisputed leader of Cuba, and there is reason to believe that much of this is due to his popularity among the population.
This tape takes an even-handed view of this fascinating man. Like so many of the successful revolutionaries down through history, he was born into the privileged classes and showed his rebelliousness at a very early age. One of his confidants testifies that Castro adopted an anti-American stance because he knew that it would tap into the deep resentment that the Cuban people had against their powerful neighbor to the north. Few people realize that Cuba of the fifties was the decadent playground of the American elite. Havana was the sin city paradise, with gambling and prostitution rampant. Castro's removal of the "sin capitol" feature of Havana was very popular with the Cubans, developing a sense of Cuban national pride.
Some of the impressive successes of Castro's revolution are also described. The health care system of Cuba is one of the best in the world and he also embarked on a very effective program of universal literacy. While he is a dictator, unlike some of the others around the world, he did not use his political power to amass a fortune in foreign banks. It is also true that he jailed his political opponents and had many executed and the American government has spared few expenses in trumpeting these events.
This shows the fundamentals of power politics at its' worst. Since Castro was a communist, he is considered by the U. S. government to be an evil enemy. However, when you contrast his actions with those of the military dictators who seized power in countries such as Argentina and Chile, then he is comparatively speaking an improvement. The U. S. turned a blind eye to the mass killings in Argentina and Chile because those leaders were anti-Communist.
Much has been argued about the many tragedies of the death of John Kennedy. Many believe that he would have avoided the extensive American military involvement in Southeast Asia, and there is evidence to support this. I was not aware that only days before his death, Kennedy had sent a message to Castro telling him that he was willing to negotiate an end to the hostilities. This would include a removal of the embargo and a restoration of full diplomatic relations. In fact, the messenger, a French journalist, was in Castro's office when Castro received the phone call informing him of Kennedy's death. Yet another sad consequence of Kennedy's early death.
Fidel Castro is a survivor, in many ways he is a person of exceptional political skills. That is a clear message that you get from this tape. It is also clear that Castro wanted to retain political power above all things and much of what he has done was due to political necessity rather than ideological conviction. Like so many other biographical sketches of the dominant people of history, as you watch it, you cannot help but ask many "What if?" questions."
An excellent and candid look at Castro
Charles Ashbacher | 10/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"At times dramatic and at times lifting and humorous. Here you see the full range of the man known as Castro. This candid biography looks at his life: from his upbringing to his development into the man he was when he formed the July26th movement, to a tired fighter still waiting for America to cease its aggression. This documentary shows Castro's brilliance and determination to free Cuba from elitism and US imperialism.What this documentary does so well, is to explain Castro as a person, as who he is, rather than just a political force. We see the stoic and even stubborn side of Castro, and his humaness pervades the documentary. An excellent documentary in that it illustrates the "other side" which seeks to eliminate the stereotypical McCarthyist viewpoint still practiced by US mass media. An excellent film for Americans and internationals alike. It is an unbiased documentary which stirs debate on both sides (for both supporters and detractors of Castro) which is what really makes it an invaluable and important piece of journalism."