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Cuba's Secret Side

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Keyword: Travel, Cuba
Producer: Karin Muller

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Cuba's Secret Side
Arts & Culture, Human Interest - 2x54

Five decades after Castro's revolution, Cuba’s Secret Side explores Cuba's dual personality:  the side seen on newsreels and by tourists, and the reality lived by its vibrant and astoundingly diverse people. Knowing that the Cuban government severely restricts all foreign journalists, Karin Muller took an enormous risk—she set out to film a documentary on a simple tourist visa. Free of government minders, she hitchhiked around Cuba for three months—sleeping in private homes, working with farmers and fishermen, and participating in festivals and religious ceremonies. She was arrested over a dozen times, but in the end she captured on film a side of Cuba that few foreigners ever see.

Hour 1: Under the Radar

Cubans joke that the revolution has had three great successes: education, health care, and social equality; and three failures: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Cuba’s Secret Side uncovers the truth behind the revolution by sharing in the day-to-day lives of ordinary Cubans—accompanying a small-town doctor on house calls and investigating food distribution and housing. The films traces the post-revolution economic history of Cuba through the fall of the Soviet Union and subsequent Special Period, the thriving black market, recent legalization of private businesses, introduction of a second currency, and gradual opening to foreign tourism.

Hour 2: The Truth Revealed

Cuba’s Secret Side also looks at the Cubans themselves for a better understanding of this complicated island. The documentary illustrates Cuban personality through in-depth stories of individuals and their communities, exploring the San Lazaro festival, where devotees drag rocks for six miles to church; Santeria, an imported African religion with a Cuban twist; the art of spear fishing with homemade guns from Styrofoam floats; and a dangerous fireworks competition in a unique village festival. A fast-paced and provocative journey, Cuba’s Secret Side shows that the real story behind this vibrant and often misunderstood country is not what one would expect.

 

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