Comandante Review

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Oliver Stones interviews Fidel Castro and we catch glimpses of the humour and personality of the man beneath the myth.


Oliver Stone likes Fidel Castro. Maybe it's because he has found a fellow conspiracist who thinks the JFK assassination could not have been carried out by a lone gunman. Maybe it's because, after 30 hours of interview time in Havana, he gets to josh around in the back of the Cuban leader's limo, playing with a loaded gun and noting that Castro's fabled cigar box is filled with candies.

As a political interviewer, Stone lets his subject off the hook far too easily - a raised eyebrow about torture, no mention of death squads. But this is not Newsnight; nor is it naive propaganda. It's a subjective portrait of a politician who's very aware of the image he presents to the outside world.

Stone can't quite penetrate the 'spin' rhetoric of the revolution, but occasionally the myth evaporates for long enough to allow us a rare glimpse of the humour and personality of the man beneath.

An opportunity frustratingly squandered, but one which still makes for fascinating viewing thanks to Castro's natural charisma. Errol Morris would have nailed it.