January 20, 2008

AND A FILM SHALL SET THEM FREE:

Change may be brewing in Cuba: Analysts see signs of modest political and economic reform in the 18 months since Fidel Castro temporarily stepped down. (Carol J. Williams, 1/20/08, Los Angeles Times)

Cubans waited hours in line for tickets, packed Havana's cinemas and watched with rapt attention as "The Lives of Others," a chilling account of East German secret-police repression of communism's doubters, arrived in the Cuban capital last month.

Was the debut of the Academy Award-winning film two years after its release another signal that Cuba's Communist leaders are open to reform? Or was the cinematic snapshot of life two decades ago and half a world away more reflective of their confidence that Cubans wouldn't see themselves in the picture?

Analysts of the secretive Cuban power structure see signs of modest political and economic change emerging on the island in the 18 months since an ailing Fidel Castro temporarily ceded power to his brother Raul and retreated to pen his thoughts and memoirs.

Raul Castro has urged young Cubans to expose government shortcomings in providing adequate food, transportation and housing.


No one who intended to maintain a totalitarian regime could allow that movie to be seen.


Posted by Orrin Judd at January 20, 2008 7:42 AM
Comments

Speaking of the Lives of Others, a few weeks back I was reading an English football blog, written by an American or at least someone who's lived in the US for many years, and came across a post listing the author's best films he'd seen in 2007.

LofO was # 1, with the truly insane comment: "This brilliant look at East German life during the Cold War won the Oscar for Foreign Language Picture this year and couldn’t have been more relevant in our own contemporary police state."

The mind boggles. Who knew that 1 in 5 Americans was working for the secret police, that there was a wall built to keep Americans in, etc etc.

Ladies and gentleman, your American Left (and perhaps Ron-Paulian Right.)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 20, 2008 11:08 AM

Quite right. As I've been watching--about halfway through--all I could think was how profoundly trivial it makes every security measure in America look.

Posted by: oj at January 20, 2008 3:40 PM

OJ:

Not to get all femmy on you, but the scene with the woman crying in the bathtub after being pursued by the lecherous party kingpin is one of the most memorable things I've ever seen in film.

It's the kind of movie that makes you thank God to have been born in America. And yes, it makes luggage searches look like small potatoes...ditto, ditto, everything ditto.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 22, 2008 12:07 AM

I found myself truly relieved by the final scene.

Posted by: oj at January 22, 2008 12:38 AM
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