Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Fernando Guilln, Daro Grandinetti, Laura Ramos, Ernesto Tapia
Director: Alberto Lecchi
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Cuba February 24 1958: The city of Havana hosts the Second Cuban International Formula 1 Grand Prix and Argentina's Juan Manuel Fangio 5-time world champion is awaited with open arms by both the Cuban people and their gove... more »
Interesting account of a high profile kidnapping - loosely b
Penumbra | Atlanta, GA USA | 02/26/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The real Juan Manuel Fangio is a sports legend among Formula One race fans and in his native Argentina. The modern era of Formula One driving began in 1950 and Fangio had won five championships by 1957, a record that was unbroken for 45 years. Fangio was also a humble man. His philosophy was "always strive to be the best, but never believe that you are."
The film opens when Fangio (Darío Grandinetti) arrives in Cuba, heavily favored to win the Grand Prix of Havana. He appears calm and relaxed. He visits the race track for some test laps and gives several interviews. During a press conference at his hotel a young woman asks him a few questions, then asks him to step outside on the street so that her photographer can take pictures in better light. The girl and the photographer are both members of Castro's 26th of July Movement. When Fangio is on the street outside his hotel, they force him into a waiting car and speed away.
The kidnappers are basically amateurs. It feels as though Fangio has been kidnapped, not by revolutionaries, but by the Cuban chapter of his fan club. The group takes him from house to house in different cars, but instead of "safe houses" they use their family homes. In each house, Fangio is introduced to the family of one or another of his captors and offered whatever hospitality is available. Fangio takes all of this in stride, never losing his calm demeanor. He takes tea and chats with parents and children as though he were paying a polite social call.
Their object is to gain worldwide attention and embarrass the Batista government. They believe the Grand Prix will have to be canceled if Fangio is not present at the scheduled start time. To their shock, the race goes forward as scheduled. The news of Fangio's kidnapping is equaled if not exceeded by a spectacular crash as one of the Cuban drivers can't make a turn and plows into the crowd of onlookers at the track.
The story takes a bizarre turn following the race. The government officials, in a counter effort to embarrass the rebels, decide that it is in their best interest to kill Fangio and blame it on the kidnappers rather than allow him to be returned unharmed. The kidnappers realize they will be unable to simply turn their hostage loose. The story becomes a race to see whether they can safely get him back to a public location before the government finds them.
The acting is good. Grandinetti does a nice job as the cool headed racing legend. (He apparently devoted some time to perfecting his Balcarce accent, too!) The story is interesting, although it drags in spots. The movie was filmed in Havana, but it doesn't appear any effort was made to make the locations look as they did fifty years ago.
The movie is in Spanish. My DVD (from SPS) promised English subtitles on the box, but there are none on the disk menu and the subtitle button on my remote doesn't bring up anything. However, the new Lionsgate DVD claims to be in English. It would be a pity if this is dubbed. You'll miss a lot of the nuances the actors put into their performances.
Operacion Fangio-Terrible Movie.
Jose Lopez | Miami,Florida USA | 05/07/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is terribly bad,Horrible Quality, dull and boring, Recounts the Cuban Side of the story(If you consider Fidel Castro's regime a Reliable source), I had this misfortune of buying this dvd at a festival under false pretenses, I was told there were scenes of the actual Grand Prix(Grand Premio De Cuba) very little in fact is in this movie, This movie was done on scene in Cuba(why else would it be so biased?) Argentina,Spain, The actors are horrible,
It is misinformed, And Puts A Great Racer like Fangio in such a Bad movie that is not worth it."