9 May 2013 | aristofanis
I just saw Comandante on Greek public television, in its entirety and uninterrupted and was immediately drawn to it.
Whether one agrees with Cuba's political system or not, is not the issue here. What Oliver Stone has achieved is what no journalist or historian has ever come close to. He brings himself and his crew right up close to the aged leader and confronts him relentlessly with questions from the mundane to the esoteric and from the political to the personal. Ideas about the past and the future, about dreams, art, democracy, colonialism, family, religion, women's rights, education, love etc are all exposed here, bringing out an intimate portrait. The questions are often uncomfortable as when Stone asks Castro about his ex wives in front of his wife, or when his claims about policing in Cuba are denied by one of Stone's crew members. Yet Castro even at this age, is sharp, humorous and poetic in a way that reveals the intellectual behind the politician.
It is also a travel documentary of Havana where Fidel Castro is Stone's guide and walks him through the city's monuments and cafés, sits next to him at the back seat of his car, eats and drinks with him and we get a sense that he knows what is happening in Havana's every alley.
One thing is for sure: no other country leader would ever allow himself the closeness Castro offers to Stone and expose his feelings and doubts with such spontaneity.
Stone turns a formal encounter into a family visit and brings the audience to meet an iconic political figure and spend a couple of intimate hours with him.
A work that leaves you thinking for a long while.