The film I am Cuba, also known as Soy Cuba, is dedicated to the events of the Cuban Revolution. Despite the fact that it was initially conceived only as a propaganda movie, it became a real piece of art. Almost the entire film was shot with a hand-held camera, including the scene of the funeral procession, which is one of the most impressive scenes of the movie.
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I am Cuba was directed by Mikhail Kalatozov a few years later after the Cuban revolution. It was a collaborative work of the Soviet Union and Cuba (Thakkar, 2014). There are numerous remarkable scenes in the film, and one of them is the ‘funeral procession’ scene that is an example of brilliant camera work. The scene shows the funeral of those who died in the name of the revolution. Throughout the scene, nobody talks, but in spite of that, it is emotional. The scene keeps its viewers to be curious about the thoughts and feelings of the procession’s participants. The wide range of filmmaking techniques makes the scene to be so striking.
The motion picture of the ‘funeral procession’ scene is based on the principle of constructing a single continuous shot – it is filmed in one long take. It is not an exaggeration to say that the camera is an extension of the setting energy. It moves freely in space, includes such filmmaking techniques as zooming, tracking, and craning. Firstly, the scene begins with a close-up of the face of a man. Then the camera begins moving away, and after that it is attached in such a way that the viewer is seemed to be one of people carrying the stretcher with the body.
The dynamic of shooting makes the viewer feels as a participant of the funeral, not as a bystander. Then the camera suddenly ascends vertically, and the viewer see the whole procession. The camera movement emphasizes action, and thanks to this technique, the viewer is going through deep emotional experience.
The use of various filmmaking techniques makes the viewer experience the sense of grief and sadness of the procession’s participants. There is a feeling of the overwhelming support of all people who have come together in support. They do it for the nameless scores of young people who have died in the name of revolution. The scene conveys a sense of solidarity and quiet devotion.
Thakkar, A. (2014). Who Is Cuba? Dispersed protagonism and heteroglossoa in Soy Cuba/I Am Cuba. Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, 55(1), 83-101.