Cuba-Venezuela Film Series Summer 2007

Fridays  in June, 7pm

De Paul University, Schmitt Academic Center, Room 154

Five Factories          2006      81min                                                June 1

The directors of Venezuela From Below go into 5 factories: a textile company, an aluminum plant, a tomato processing plant, a cocoa factory and a paper factory in different regions of Venezuela to talk to the workers. They find “Working collectively is much better than working for another. Working for another is like being a slave to that other.”  Models of workers’ control, organizational tactics, the hard-ships of self-organization vs. the corporate structure of production. The question at the heart of the interviews, “How does a company push toward socialism within a capitalist framework?”  With the Venezuelan government pulling the business world into a collectivist model, and using oil money for broad social programs, the transitions many companies have to go through is not easy, and the compromise solutions are far from perfect. Five Factories digs deep into these issues to find how the laborers feel about these questions.

Salud      2007    93min                                                                  June 8

A timely film about conflicting values and the urgency of ensuring the universal right to health care, ¡SALUD!, examines the remarkable case of Cuba, a cash-strapped country that has established what the BBC calls “one of the world’s best health systems,” and helps other developing countries do the same. Beautifully filmed in Cuba, South Africa, The Gambia, Honduras and Venezuela, ¡SALUD! reveals the human dimension of the world-wide health crisis, and the central role of international cooperation in addressing glaring inequalities. ¡SALUD! accompanies some of the 28,000 Cuban health professionals now serving in 68 countries. Through their personal stories, and those of an array of young medical students-now numbering 30,000-from the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean being trained by Cuba, ¡SALUD! invites us to explore new paths to making health a global birthright, wiping out the diseases of poverty.

I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba)     1964    164 min                               June 15

The film is divided into four distinct chapters which provide a roadmap of Cuba’s journey towards revolution. The country’s victimization at the hands of an economically and socially rapacious America is bared to see. A young girl from the slums is used for sex by a hypocritical tourist, while a hardworking farmer loses his sugar cane crop to the monstrous United Fruit Company. Elsewhere, an idealistic student is made a martyr by the police and a peaceful mountain family lose a baby son to bombs from the sky. “I Am Cuba,” Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1964 masterpiece is a visually stunning piece of filmmaking – slash – fascinating historical artifact. It is the first and only Soviet-Cuban cinematic collaboration.

Venezuela From Below    2004,     67 min                                 June 22

This focuses on the rank and file and their enormous strength and the capacity for self organization, of taking matters into their own hands, in the process of transformation that is taking place in Venezuela. Workers from the oil company PDVSA report how they protected the refinery during the oil sabotage, and how they were able to reinstate production. Farmers from a cooperative in Aragua report on their process of self-organization, the literacy campaign, and how things should continue. A woman’s bank project and several loan recipients present their projects. Indigenous community members near the Orinoco River speak about how their demands and struggles are reflected in the constitution, and what has changed for them. Workers from the occupied National Valve Company, and from the paper production company Venepal, speak about corrupt unions, workers control, and their struggles. Here, the people themselves are talking about how they see the Bolivarian process, how their lives have changed since the beginning of the process. People have organized themselves in tens of thousands of revolutionary organizations of different kinds, and have taken their future into their own hands.

Sponsored by the Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban 5    773-376-7521


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