The second film of the afternoon was Commandante. This Oliver Stone ‘fly-on-the-wall’ style documentary follows Cuba’s aging president Castro through four days. Complete with grassroots style wobbly cam to give it a cutting edge feel, the film provides an interesting look at Castro as a person but many may have been disappointed about Stones greater interest in the human interest angle (such as probing into Castro’s love life) rather than the politics of the revolution.
Continuing with the Cuban theme, the final films were about Cuba’s hip-hop scene and the politics inspiring it. As part of the film, Cuban rappers were taken to New York in order to help spread their music. This provided some interesting reflections as the rappers talk about the crazy waste of the society they see and put down the plastic branded MTV style rappers of the US scene.
Slightly behind schedule, the projector was shut down and the chairs laid out in a circle for a round table discussion on how Cuba & Venezuela have liberated themselves from US imperialism. The session revealed the expected divergent views between the Marxist and anarchist elements present as the debate turned to the strengths and weaknesses of these so-called ‘democratic revolutions’ and their systems of government. However the real conflict was infighting taking place elsewhere in the building (oh the joys of the radical Left).
With the serious stuff over, it was time to eat some traditional South American food as the evening’s entertainment began. The room heated up as more people arrived for the live jamming of The Rub, Paradox and drummers from Rhythms of Resistance. With the temperature and humidity at Venezuelan levels, the beer quickly ran out (but not the rum) as the noisy evening progressed and spilled out onto the streets. Lets hope it didn’t piss off the ramparts neighbours too much as there are four more days of events hosted at the Rampart Street venue.
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