27 March 2012

Film Review: Ricardo, Miriam y Fidel (1997) by Christian Frei, ****


Like so many thousands of other Cubans, Miriam Martínez means to emigrate to the United States with her family. The daughter of a man who played a crucial part in the victory of the revolution, she finds that this is far from easy, for her as well as for her father Ricardo.

Almost forty years ago Ricardo quit his job as a journalist and left for the Sierra Maestra to join Fidel Castro's rebels. Under the guidance of Ché Guevara he founded Radio Rebelde. Their nighttime broadcasts became the most efficient means of spreading their revolutionary ideas.

Today the glamour of their undertaking has faded. Ricardo's dream has not come true. He had used Radio Rebelde to fight for truth and a just society. Today his daughter Miriam listens to Radio Martí, a branch of Voice of America broadcasting from the United States into Cuba.


As usual for a Christian Frei movie, one finds a combination of emotional involvement and analytical detachment. In this case, it is a true story of father and daughter, and it is the two of them who provide us with contrasting views of the country they both love. This is therefore a true insight into Communist Cuba, as seen through the eyes of a real family, torn by contrasting emotions and difficult political choices. Strongly recommended to understand the vicissitudes of Cuba in the 1990s, behind the stereotypes and slogans one gets in the newspapers or in a short visit.

You can get the DVD from the director's website here.

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