Looking for Fidel
Eagle/Cinema Paradiso, Rs 399
This DVD comes with an unannounced gift. And what a delight it is. The cover promises Oliver Stone’s 2004 documentary about dissidence in Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
But when you put on the DVD, you find it also has Persona Non Grata, Stone’s roll on the Israel-Palestine conflict — a film that’s as relevant today as it was in 2003, when it was made. There are provocative interviews with Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu on the Israeli side. In Ramallah on the Palestinian side, there’s Yasser Arafat and Abu Kassir from the Fatah party and Jasan Yosef from Hamas. The revelation isn’t in the reasons for mutual distrust; it’s in the negotiating tactics used — how much to give and ask for. Peres emerges as the canniest and hopes the conflict-ridden area’s children would “work on imagination, not memory”.
The Fidel story, a sequel to Commandante, follows a few asylum-seeking Cuban hijackers arrested in 2003. In one bizarre set-up, Stone throws hard questions at eight hijackers in the presence of Castro. But thankfully, the cigar-less leader doesn’t chomp up all the screen-time.