Monday, 5 July 2010

Sons of Cuba

I usually don't make it a habit to review films on this blog, my colleague Rob Beames does a better job of that on his blog. But I saw SONS OF CUBA the other night and my desire to spread the word about this wonderful documentary means I am breaking my own rules.
The premise is pretty straightforward: the crew followed a group of kids from Havana's under-12 boxing academy in their intense training and then journey to the National Boxing Tournament. The film is simple in its realisation, and the filmmakers wisely dispense with much editorialising - the subject matter does all the heavy lifting here. The context is the political situation in Cuba, where Fidel Castro is handing over the reins of power due to ill health; and the defection of prominent Cuban boxers to the professional world.

The children featured are emotional, eloquent, talented, and carry on their faces the subtle expressions of adults, not children. Their lives are light years away from the children in the UK or the US, with the wealth of material goods and distractions that are a blessing and a curse. The Cuban children value the team above the individual, and are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. The toughness on the surface doesn't disguise frequent outbursts of tears not just from the little ones, but from parents and coaches too - tears of happiness, sadness, pride or just pain.
This film does exactly what you want from a documentary: it informs, it takes you to a world very unlike your own, it's moving, exciting, and says a lot without preaching. I highly recommend you try and catch this film when it plays at The Dukes next week.

Check here for times and tickets.


  1. Glad you liked it too and thanks for the kind words and the link!

    I'm reviewing it now for a blog post tomorrow. Picturehouse Recommends lists Oliver Stone's 'South of the Border' as upcoming. Do you reckon it will play a show at the Duke's? I hope so. Just brought it up because it's another from a similar part of the world! Could be similarly illuminating.

  2. I saw South of the Border in Venice last year and I think it's fantastic! I fought hard to get it at the cinema so make sure you watch it for a review