[Westchester, CA ] When most people think about the Cuban Revolution, whether you love him or hate him it is recognized Fidel Castro was the leader.
This past weekend Loyola Marymount University hosted “A Celebration of Cuban Arts and Culture.” Among several activities, Professor Glenn Gebhard, noted film director and professor in the LMU School of Film and Television screened his Emmy award doc, “Cuba – The Forgotten Revolution.” The film came out in 2015.
The piece is not just another bio-pic about Cuba. What it does is update the historical record and highlights how Fidel rose to the ultimate leadership position.
I decided to make the film with the understanding that some would hate it and try to dismiss it, and others would love it!! Professor Glenn Gebhard
Prior to the noted take-over in 1959, escalating in the 1950’s there were several opposition forces to the Bautista regime. The film highlights leaders who at the time were more powerful than Fidel. Two which deservingly captured the research of Gebhard was Jose Antonio Echeverria and Frank Pais. Many young people across the island formed their activism while attending the University of Havana. Jose Antonio Echeverria was student body president and developed quite a following which bled out of the University to the western part of the country. Frank Pais (Pie-Es) was at the southeastern portion of the island in the Santiago region and also had assembled an impressive opposition group.
Fidel’s martyrdom is well documented. Unfortunately, Echeverria nor Pais lived to see the victory of the revolution. Echeverria was killed at 25 years old in 1957. Several months later in July País who was just 22 years old was also killed.
Even though previous historical accounts skip over their place in the revolution (highlighting Fidel as the primary leader), Gebhard’s film gives you a much better perspective how their actions fueled the revolution and successfully forced Bautista out. After all, following the July 26, 1953 ill-fated battle at Moncada prison, where Fidel suffered a defeat and subsequently was captured and imprisoned, Echeverria and País had forces much larger than his.
In completing the film, Gebhard compiled a fledging team who were able to cull together solid documentation. However, it was through his connection with Steve Krahnke and his team at PBS that finally made the film a reality.
The thing about a documentary is facts are pulled together from the perspective of the producers. Some may dismiss their facts but just as Gebhard presented information to update the record, until others provide refuttable facts, the presentation becomes the current account.
My score, a 10 based on content.
**screening dates of the film are pending, however it is available on Netflix**