Cuba as you've never seen it before

Posted: 24-May-16 12:02

If you thought Cuba was all cigars and classic cars, prepare to think again as a new documentary from CCTV America gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the island's creative class. Focusing on baseball, art, entrepreneurship and medicine, the hour-long short film provides a rare insight into a side of the country that you won't find on any pre-planned tour from the US.

Cuba as you've never seen it before

While everyone has been talking about the rebuilding of US-Cuban bridges for the past couple of years, the fact remains that most American tourists are still unclear as to what side of the country’s culture they’ll see when they get there. Thankfully, a new documentary by CCTV America has attempted to lift the lid on what Cuban life is really like by going beyond the holiday brochure images of cigars and classic cars and following the island’s creative class in the fields of sport, art, business entrepreneurship and pharmaceuticals.

Designed to give viewers a peek behind the curtains at what actually goes on in the country, Reinventing Cuba shares a side of Cuban life that is often missed by holidaymakers and those who simply visit the island for recreational purposes by providing real-world stories from its inhabitants.

Real people, real stories

Following the people who are likely to feature at the forefront of the country’s future as it moves into a new era, Reinventing Cuba tells the stories of several very different Cuban citizens, giving viewers a candid look at what they get up to on a daily basis along with their dreams and aspirations.

Among the many interesting narratives included in the documentary, Reinventing Cuba turns the spotlight on how the country has reinvented itself in the years since Fidel Castro’s administration, with baseball, the arts and education. One of the most striking differences between Cuba and the US is the way in which topics such as sport are discussed, with a lack of social media on the island leaving residents little choice but to take the discussions to the streets.

Indeed, with baseball being the national sport of Cuba, fans of the game are forced to gather on Esquina Caliente – or hot corner, to non-Spanish speakers – to discuss upcoming league games. This is just one example of the juxtaposition between passion and resources in a country where you’ll struggle to purchase a baseball despite the game being considered a symbol of national identity.

This is something of a running theme throughout Reinventing Cuba, with the documentary doing a great job of capturing the fact that Cuban people just want to be able to do their own thing without scrounging resources from the US. It is the same in the country’s art hub, La Fabrica, where aspiring creative-types have little choice other than to use what few materials they have available to create their works of art. Nevertheless, they are rapidly establishing a community that is being recognised as one of the most progressive in the Art world, with many US citizens flocking to La Fabrica each year.

Currently available to view for free online, Reinventing Cuba is a must-watch documentary that will totally alter your perception of a country that is often completely misunderstood by the tourism industry. Showing Cuba as a living, breathing metropolis rather than simply a holiday destination, viewers will gain an insight into the island that may well have a significant bearing on their next visit.


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