(PG) 99min 0...

Given unprecedented access to Fidel Castro, Oliver Stone has culled a fascinating personal and political portrait of Cuba‘s self-proclaimed dictator from 30 hours of interviews. In a way, Stone's documentary is a companion piece to his biopic, Nixon: both films look for the man behind the political icon. Interestingly, Stone, a Democrat whose own politics are closer to the last revolutionary than the big Dick, gave President Nixon an easier time. Stone refracted his portrait of the disgraced leader through his Republican father, and dedicated the surprisingly sympathetic film to him. Castro, 3 man who was reviled by both Nixon and Stone‘s father, is given a thorough grilling.

Do we get the truth about Castro? Perhaps. The agreement made between Stone and his subject gave the interviewer carte blanche, but also included the proviso that El Comandante could have the cameras turned off at any time. Certainly, Stone plugs away at his interviewee, quizzing him on everything from politics and philosophy to his love life. For the most part, Castro is forthcoming, his answers articulate, candid. occasionally funny and always thoughtful. But this wise

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septuagenarian is a politician and there are issues he skirts around. This is no bad thing when he tells Stone he won't talk about his private life out of respect for his partners. But when quizzed about Cuba's intolerance of homosexuals, Castro side-steps the issue, saying the island's society is based on machismo, but attitudes are changing. And what are we to make of the leader of the last non-corporate state wearing a spanking new pair of Nikes? Still, what he has to say about

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Dubya Bush's America is spot on. This is Castro in his own words.

(there’s a barrage of sound and image, a hangover from the post- modern mess Natural BOrn Killers), he lets his subject have his say and his audience make up their own minds. In a world of spin and propaganda, that's a rare thing indeed. (Miles Fielder)

I Se/ected re/ea:;e ‘/on‘ I r ,‘(i ()0? See feature, page 78.


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