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FIDEL (2001), colour, 91 min - 35mm film/video

To some he is a champion of the poor and the powerless; to others he is a ruthless dictator. He is often dismissed as a relic, yet many revere him as a saviour. He is Cuban President, Fidel Castro.

FIDEL covers forty years of the Cuban Revolution and provides a unique opportunity to consider the life of one of the most influential and controversial figures of our time.

Director, Estela Bravo, has obtained original and unusual interviews with Castro and exclusive footage from Cuban State archives. For the first time on film, we see Fidel Castro in a more intimate light, swimming with his bodyguards, visiting his childhood home and school, joking with his friend Nelson Mandela, meeting with Elian Gonzalez, and celebrating his birthday with the Buena Vista Social Club.

Bravo allows the story to unfold through the words of Alice Walker, Sydney Pollack, Ted Turner, Muhammed Ali, Harry Belafonte, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Congressman Charles Rangel, Ramsey Clark, Wayne Smith, and others. Family and close friends, such as the Nobel Prize winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, also offer a window into the largely unknown private life of Fidel Castro.

Juxtaposing the personal and the anecdotal with the history of the Cuban Revolution and Castro's fight to survive the post-Soviet period and the continued U.S. embargo, this 91-minute documentary tells a story that has yet to be told on film. Without resorting to polemics, Bravo is able to surprise her audience as she reveals another side to the compelling figure of Fidel.

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