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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fidel Not a Bad Guy
The start of this video is really boring, with Oliver Stone pressing Fidel Castro on human rights issues, and evaluating him through a wholly American perspective.

But at the end of the movie, which I guess one could call a documentary, Stone loosens up, and actually seems to realize that he is in a foreign country, even though the USA has done its utmost to...
Published on September 16, 2011 by Carioca56

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Finding Fidel
My experience with Fidel Castro until now has just been viewing footage of him shouting in spanish on a podium. For me, I didn't even care about the politics, I was just hoping to gain insight into the mind of a dictator. It was interesting to hear Castro speak and see how he behaves, but I ended up wishing Oliver Stone was more of a psychologist then a politician because...
Published on October 22, 2011 by Anonymous


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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fidel Not a Bad Guy, September 16, 2011
The start of this video is really boring, with Oliver Stone pressing Fidel Castro on human rights issues, and evaluating him through a wholly American perspective.

But at the end of the movie, which I guess one could call a documentary, Stone loosens up, and actually seems to realize that he is in a foreign country, even though the USA has done its utmost to deny Cubans the god-given right to autonomy.

What I learned from watching the video:

Cubans flee Cuba for Florida for strictly economic reasons.

Fidel can walk the streets of Havana (or anywhere else in Cuba) without a million body guards, bullet-proof plexi-glass, and a cordon of navy seals for protection. U.S. politicians can't.

Of course there is no freedom of speech in Cuba. If there were, the revolution would be doomed, as America is waiting for the first sign of weakness in order to pounce.

Access to health services and education in Cuba is pretty much universal. So what if the Cuban people don't have flat screen TV's, mobile phones, and Gucci handbags. You don't need those in order to survive.

Many Cubans love their leader. We just hear about the ones that don't.

Finally, of the utmost significance. Many of the Cubans interviewed in this moview were single fathers. Now, any country that encourages its people to have smaller families is alright by me.

And probably the best part of the movie is at the end, where Castro and Stone are up on a bluff, overlooking Havana harbor and smiling. Castro points and says, "That's where US warships will come in, should we ever let down our guard," or some such thing. (Not sure exactly what he said, as I was listening to Spanish and reading Korean, as I couldn't hear the English for the simultaneous translation.) And then Castro adds again, "One thing about the Americans that really makes it hard to deal with them is they don't accept anything but unconditional surrender. Complete surrender is all they will accept."

Four stars. Check it out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for Fidel, May 12, 2012
By 
Gus Venegas (Cocoa, Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Looking for Fidel (DVD)
The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, was 76 years old and had been in power almost half a century when Oliver Stone sat down with him for the 2003 interview that forms the core of this documentary. Stone also talks to activists, spouses of jailed journalists and even the mother of an executed hijacker to provide this clear-eyed view of Cuba following the 2003 crackdown on dissidents. Fidel Castro speaks out on why Cuba has dealt so harshly with those it considers a threat, most of them dissidents or folks hijacking planes or boats, most of them getting 20 years to life sentences for crimes that may have gotten them no time to no more than 2-3 years in the US. "Looking for Fidel" includes provocative conversations between Stone and Castro in which the Cuban leader offers his views about the state of the world, President Bush, the war in Iraq and other major international issues. But at the end, it is obvious to the average man that Fidel is an ironfisted tyrant who can tolerate no criticism!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fidel and Oliver...great documentary., January 2, 2013
This review is from: Looking for Fidel (DVD)
I guess that I see this film a little differently than most. I was kind of aware that the US was run by militant tyrants, and did not think that Fidel was nearly as bad as we have been led to believe. One reviewer comments that the film starts off slow, but what Stone does is question Fidel from the point of view of the average American. This was not Oliver's first time with Fidel, and he knew what he was doing. It is brilliant.

I read things all of the time about the terrible Cuba, the tyrant Fidel, and of course the "you don't understand the real" Che Guevara. I have been reading and watching things on Cuba, and the rest of Latin America, and while I knew that we were bad to our neighbors to the south, I did not realize how to blame we are. Fidel is more clear headed than any leader the US has seen...maybe ever. The Founding Fathers had some real thinkers, but recently it has been a CF of ideology based around failed systems of social and political organization. We are doing our best to prove that democracy doesn't work in the US, and we have been trying to unseat Fidel, because he proves that our system is not the best.

Those who represent the people of this country have made multiple attempts on this man's life, because he isn't scared to do what is right for the people of his country. If you read about the Cuban Revolution, it is clear that Fidel and Che did the only thing that they could do to overthrow a regime, which didn't care about the people as a whole, but only a small elite...usually those who were complicit with American exploitation. Say what you will about their tactics, but they tried the election thing before Batista staged his coup. It didn't work, so they had to try another way. The strategy of Fidel and Che during the Revolution are amazing. They had zero room for error, and they beat an army. The won the hearts and minds of the people, and they have been fighting the same outside pressures for decades. We can look at this movie and see the relatively small number of people who appear to be unhappy, and then we see the crowds cheering for Fidel. He has no Secret Service...that is profound when you see the outrageous amount of security that the "leader of the free world" needs anytime they go into public.

Cuba has put up with more from the US Government than just about anybody. The US has been trying to undo what Fidel did for the people of Cuba since the Eisenhower Administration. We as Americans get a bad story...we look like fools to many of other people around the world for believing in our own self-made image. Fidel and Chavez are two leaders who show that it is hard to usurp Socialism, and that is because of the society that it creates. When the people who we don't give a chance in this country get that chance, they take it. These countries want to stand on their own, but we won't let them. If they were not having to dedicate so many resources to fighting back CIA funded attacks and coups, they would have shown that capitalism isn't all that it is cracked up to be, but capitalism prefers to do business at the barrel of a gun.

For all the American foreign policy debates, and they centering around the theories of realism and liberalism (Wilsonianism) we are sure quick to judge people like Fidel and Che as hardened radicals, despite the fact US corporate interests were exploiting their people and...oh yeah...trying to kill them. We are fine with total overreaction, which is not what the revolutionaries did. They did not carpet bomb, or kill innocent civilians with remote control planes. There were people that died, but that was because of overreaching US interests that were raping the people of that land of their resources with Batista in office...who really was a brutal dictator, just the kind of guy the US supports. US support of Batista was tepid, at best, because he was slaughtering his own citizens, and Fidel was smart enough to get some good US press early on, but they were backing other groups who would have kowtowed to their demands for the luxury of power.

Politics is a dirty game, and to exist as a government that is truly for the people of the nation is risky business. The US has the most guns by far, and they prefer to deal with authoritarian leaders, who are cheap to buy off. Fidel wasn't one of those, and if you don't get that out of this film, don't stop researching. Listening to the words of the Cuban revolutionaries is an interesting thing. Then read some history and see whose words, Cuban or American, the facts line up with. Fidel has always been honest with his people, and has attempted to do the right thing, while we tried to disrupt it. This is important as we enter into a time that we have no faith in our system, but we contend it is the best...our leaders are incapable of solving problems, and yet we keep waiting for them to do it, and resort to snarky commentary when they don't.

If you watch this and don't feel for Fidel, you need to do some more digging. We are too quick to paint leaders as good and evil, and we presuppose that everybody that isn't in our immediate social circles must be two dimensional. People are all very complex, and Fidel is very complex. He does nothing by accident, and will be remembered as one of the greatest politicians of all time. That is if we are able to realize that we are inhabiting the only rock that we have discovered that could sustain life as we know it, and stop destroying it and each other. Fidel understands this...why don't we?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great gift for anyone interested in Cuban US history, December 11, 2013
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This review is from: Looking for Fidel (DVD)
This is a must see, must have video on Cuba, Fidel and Oliver Stone, all real, all live. A modern, documentary very relevant to today's issues (US and Cuba).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective, December 8, 2013
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This review is from: Looking for Fidel (DVD)
My students and I have been raving about this documentary and how it allows us to see multiple perspectives on an issue that can be completely one-sided in the United States.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Finding Fidel, October 22, 2011
This review is from: Looking for Fidel (DVD)
My experience with Fidel Castro until now has just been viewing footage of him shouting in spanish on a podium. For me, I didn't even care about the politics, I was just hoping to gain insight into the mind of a dictator. It was interesting to hear Castro speak and see how he behaves, but I ended up wishing Oliver Stone was more of a psychologist then a politician because I still think there is more to learn as far as that goes.

I at least learned that Castro is just a man after all. He seems to be a very intelligent, well-intentioned tyrant. In a lot of ways he has a grandfather tone about himself and does not at all seem like the menacing man I have been lead to believe he was. Stone probes Castro about retirement and relinquishing his position but Castro would have none of it.

I also got to experience bizarre sideways close-ups of Castro's beard and index finger. Yeah, the camera angles in this film were strange.

As far as the politics go, I am not sure what I was supposed to learn from all this. If I am to believe that Cuba is a good place to live because all children have to go to school and have health care then I am not buying it. Those are all good things but clearly Castro will not tolerate dissidents. In this film we were presented with an interview with a handful of prisoners accused of hijacking planes in an attempt to leave the country in the wake of 9/11. They argued that they should be sentenced to 30 years in prison instead of sentenced for life. Stone remarks that he would have asked for 5 years with parole, which seemed a bit more reasonable...

The prisoners stated that the only reason to leave was "economic reasons". Freedom of speech and political freedoms were not an issue for them. I am sure that is true, even if the prisoners were saying that with Castro's eye squarely placed upon them as they spoke, but there are clearly other reasons to leave. I don't believe it's just the embargo that is hurting Cuba, if that is what I was meant to conclude? In a surprising show of empathy though, Castro acknowledged that he understands the desire to buy cars, provide for your family, and watch baseball games. And then proceeds to allow the system to sentence them to 30 years in prison... Castro asks, if it was your responsibility, what would you do to prevent a wave of hijackings? Letting people leave on their own free will apparently was not an option.

The end of the film was most promising because we got to see Castro gaze upon his country from afar and lament on technology and the changing ways of the world. Unfortunately Stone interrupts all this to get back into politics. I say unfortunately because we were starting to see Castro as he really is: an old man trying as hard as the rest of us to understand the world. Castro's final remarks that the US would only accept complete surrender did indicate that the United States is as much a problem for Cuba as communism and Castro himself. I did end up walking away from this film wishing the US would help the Cuban people instead of playing silly political games.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!!, September 5, 2013
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This review is from: Looking for Fidel (DVD)
Great video. Gives you a more personal look at Fidel Castro for those that would like to understand the history of Cuba.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 5, 2014
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This review is from: Looking for Fidel (DVD)
Excellent
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, September 30, 2012
This review is from: Looking for Fidel (DVD)
I just saw this on iTunes. I've always liked Fidel and even more so now. Good for Stone for directing this. The beginning concerning the issue of dissidents (which is actually the main issue of the movie but luckily there were other focuses like Fidel himself) is a bit long but Fidel is such an interesting and straight to the point man not avoiding any questions of Stone unlike most politicians and giving very reasonable, intelligent and logical answers, it makes up for the less interesting issues. It's too bad it did not go more commercial (but I am not surprised as it would make the American goverment look less reasonable on how they've treated the Cubans) because it's a movie many need to see to truly understand what Cuba is like and why and what other problems other greater powers have caused for this poor country. I wish there were more candid movies like this and I hope Fidel lives on. He has not done a worse job than most that is for sure and this movie shows how he understands what needs to be done with the limited powers he has.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Propaganda passing as documentation., July 16, 2013
By 
MamboCha. (Cherry Hill, N.J. US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Looking for Fidel (DVD)
As a Cuban this "documentary" is no more than another example of how Hollywood and the international left have downplayed and romanticized this fraudulent, bloody, and destructive cult-leader at government level for decades all because he carries a leftist badge. Castro has done nothing for Cuba but betray, agonize, ransack, ruin, slave, pimp, and destroy it. What was once a thriving and vivid republic (one of the most prosperous per-capita in the Americas) is today a crumbling dystopia that's only a shadow of its former self.

"This revolution is eternal even if it takes us to the stone age", Fidel Castro. Granted, the capricious despot, who even dictated what sports and music Cubans would indulge in, is a billionaire who does not live under the misery he imposes but lives off of it, very different. He might as well say "I plan to stay in power even if Cuba goes to hell".

Castro's Cuba is a minion supported, world financed, one man show and that's all it will be as long as this megalomaniac, a spoiled rich kid who bought his own military uniform, continues there (thanks CIA and UN). Sure, the left likes to talk about "Cuba's autonomy" while conveniently ignoring that this is a brutal totalitarian tyranny not representative of, nor chosen by, the Cuban people. Why do they ignore this and even slander Cubans who oppose Castro? Because to foreign leftists Castro is no more than an anti-American propaganda tool and that's all they want him to be. Just like Castro, they are truly rooted in resentment, hate, jealousy, and power hunger. And just as Castro's humanitarianism is a propaganda front, so is theirs.

After 50+ years of Stalinist tyranny Castro Inc. has nothing to show but lies, abuse, robbery, mass exile, and destruction but that all affects Cubans so it really does not matter to foreign propagandists like Oliver Stone who are attracted to Castro for his anti-capitalist rhetoric. Stone approaches Castro as a misunderstood idealist, he pulls punches, and dances around the bush before doing any real examination of the situation - that's why he is permitted to be there.

Omitted realities are that under Castro normal bank accounts, cable, internet, post-1960 cars, inter-province travel, entrance in "tourist only" restaurants, private property, livestock, etc., are all illegal for Cubans IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY, if not granted by the state. Cuba has no civil society nor market economy do to internal restrictions. Even DVDs and cell-phones were illegal until 2008. The penthouse hypocrite, fake humanitarian, and apologetic propagandists of Stone has no interest in divulging this slavish reality because it will then make evident why Cuba is falling to pieces and who is really denying autonomy to who.
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Looking for Fidel
Looking for Fidel by Oliver Stone (DVD - 2011)
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