Cuba and the Cameraman (Movie)

3 Min Read
Title — Cuba and the Cameraman
Available on — Netflix, Plex
Production Country — United States
Release Date — 2017
Emmy-winning filmmaker Jon Alpert chronicles the fortunes of three Cuban families over the course of four tumultuous decades in the nation's history.

🪶 Story & Synopsis

In the documentary film “Cuba and the Cameraman,” viewers are taken on a poignant journey through the tumultuous history of Cuba, as seen through the lens of award-winning journalist Jon Alpert. The film opens against the backdrop of Havana awakening to a world without Fidel Castro in 2016, setting the stage for a reflective exploration of the Cuban revolution and its impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.

Spanning over 45 years, from the hopeful early 1970s to the challenging 1990s post the Soviet Union’s collapse and Castro’s passing in 2016, the narrative follows the lives of three families grappling with the evolving socio-political landscape of Cuba. Through Alpert’s intimate and compassionate lens, viewers witness the intertwined destinies of these families, offering a deeply personal insight into the resilience and struggles of the Cuban people.

At the heart of the film are the recurring characters that Alpert follows over the years – the street-smart Luis navigating life in Havana’s alleys, the determined Caridad who transitions from motherhood to emigration in the US, and the farmer Cristobal and his brothers striving to make ends meet on their modest rural farm. Their stories serve as poignant microcosms of the larger Cuban experience, capturing the hopes, dreams, and challenges faced by individuals amidst a backdrop of revolutionary change.

Alpert’s enduring fascination with Cuba is palpable throughout the documentary, as he weaves a narrative that is both critical of the political system’s shortcomings and affectionate towards the resilience of its people. Through his multiple visits to the island nation, Alpert forges deep bonds with the locals, offering viewers a rare glimpse into the everyday lives of Cubans against the backdrop of a shifting political landscape.

“Cuba and the Cameraman” stands as a compelling testament to the indomitable spirit of the Cuban people, capturing their joys, sorrows, and unwavering sense of community amidst decades of political upheaval and social change. Through Alpert’s lens, audiences are invited to witness the enduring legacy of the Cuban revolution and the human stories that lie at its heart.

🧑 Cast & Crew

Actor/Role Crew
Jon Alpert – Director, Writer, Co-Producer Jon Alpert – Cinematographer
Matthew O’Neill – Producer Tessa Treadway – Producer
David Meneses – Editor Daniel Freiberg – Music

💬 Reviews and feedback

Hey there, movie buffs! Grab your popcorn and get ready for a captivating journey through the heart of Cuba with “Cuba and the Cameraman.” Imagine a delicious Cuban sandwich – each layer representing a different era in Cuba’s history, from the hopeful beginnings to the challenging times post-Soviet Union. This documentary is not just about capturing images; it’s about capturing hearts and souls.

Have you ever been so intrigued by a place that you just had to keep going back? Well, that’s exactly what award-winning journalist Jon Alpert did with Cuba. For over four decades, he delved deep into the lives of its people, wanting to witness firsthand whether the revolution was truly making a difference. And boy, did he capture some incredible stories along the way!

Plot and Themes

“Cuba and the Cameraman” beautifully encapsulates life in Cuba through the lens of three struggling families. From moments of cautious optimism to the harsh realities faced after significant historical events, this documentary brilliantly paints a vivid picture of resilience, hope, and perseverance amidst adversity.

Acting and Characters

The real stars of this film are not actors but everyday Cubans whose lives unfold before our eyes. Their authenticity and raw emotions tug at your heartstrings, making you laugh, cry, and reflect on the universal human experience.

Direction and Cinematography

Jon Alpert’s direction shines through in every frame, capturing both the beauty and struggles of Cuba with striking visuals. The cinematography transports you to the streets of Havana, immersing you in its vibrant culture and rich history.

Production Design & Special Effects

While this documentary may not feature CGI or explosions, its production design is flawless in showcasing the real Cuba – no filters or embellishments. The special effects lie in the genuine interactions and heartfelt moments captured on screen.

Score & Editing

The score complements each scene perfectly, evoking a range of emotions from nostalgia to hope. The seamless editing weaves together decades of footage into a cohesive narrative that keeps you engaged from start to finish.

Pace & Dialogues

The pace of “Cuba and the Cameraman” is steady yet gripping, allowing you to savor each moment while remaining invested in the unfolding stories. The dialogues are poignant and thought-provoking, offering insights into Cuban life that linger long after the credits roll.

Binge-watching Tips:

  • Immerse yourself in Cuban culture before watching to enhance your viewing experience.
  • Keep tissues handy – this documentary is an emotional rollercoaster!
  • Reflect on how historical events shape individual destinies as you follow each family’s journey.

So, grab your mojitos and get ready to be transported to the enchanting world of Cuba through “Cuba and the Cameraman.” This documentary isn’t just about showcasing a country; it’s about celebrating resilience, friendship, and the enduring human spirit against all odds.

In conclusion, “Cuba and the Cameraman” is a cinematic gem that will linger in your thoughts long after viewing. It earns an impressive 9/10 for its heartfelt storytelling, impactful visuals, and profound exploration of human connections amidst tumultuous times.

Remember: Life might be like a box of chocolates, but watching “Cuba and the Cameraman” is like savoring each flavor – bittersweet yet utterly satisfying!

Pros Cons
Informative May lack depth in certain areas
Challenging Some viewers may find it slow-paced
Emotional Focus on specific individuals may leave out broader context
Warm portrayal of Cuban people Subjective perspective of the filmmaker
Revealing insight into Cuban life Not a comprehensive political analysis


  • Cuba and the Cameraman (2017) - IMDb

    Cuba and the Cameraman

    • 2017
    • 1h 53m

    Life in Cuba for three struggling families over the course of 45 years, from the cautious optimism of the early 1970s to the harrowing 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 d… Read allLife in Cuba for three struggling families over the course of 45 years, from the cautious optimism of the early 1970s to the harrowing 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 death of Fidel Castro.Life in Cuba for three struggling families over the course of 45 years, from the cautious optimism of the early 1970s to the harrowing 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 death of Fidel Castro.

  • Cuba and the Cameraman - Wikipedia

    114 minutes Country United States Language English/Spanish

    Cuba and the Cameramanis a 2017 American documentary film written, directed and co-produced by Jon Alpert. The film is a Netflix Original and was first shown at the 74th Venice International Film Festival.


    The film shows Cuba over a course of 45 years through the lens of Jon Alpert.

  • Cuba and the Cameraman | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

⚠️ Explanation (Spoiler)

In the documentary “Cuba and the Cameraman,” filmmaker Jon Alpert provides a unique and intimate look at Cuban life spanning over 50 years. Alpert, known for his extensive work in Cuba, compiles footage from his numerous trips to the country, offering a compelling narrative that goes beyond the typical portrayal of Cuba as a place and delves into the lives of its people.

The film captures pivotal moments in Cuban history, including the aftermath of Fidel Castro’s death in 2016, providing a rare glimpse into the everyday struggles and triumphs of Cuban citizens under Castro’s presidency. Alpert’s dedication to documenting Cuba over the years results in a rich tapestry of experiences that highlight the resilience and spirit of the Cuban people.

Through Alpert’s lens, viewers are transported to a world that is both familiar and foreign, shedding light on the complexities of a society often shrouded in mystery. The documentary serves as a poignant reminder of the human stories behind political ideologies, offering a nuanced perspective on a country that has long been a subject of fascination and speculation.

As Alpert navigates through decades of footage, he weaves together a narrative that is both personal and universal, capturing the essence of Cuba through the eyes of its people. From bustling city streets to quiet rural landscapes, “Cuba and the Cameraman” paints a vivid portrait of a nation in flux, grappling with its past while looking towards an uncertain future.

Ultimately, the documentary stands as a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring resilience of the human spirit. Through Alpert’s lens, Cuba is not just a distant island but a vibrant tapestry of hopes, dreams, and struggles, waiting to be discovered and understood.

👪 Parents Guide & Age Rating


Age Rating:

This movie, “Cuba and the Cameraman,” has a maturity rating of 13+. This means that the content is generally suitable for viewers aged 13 and above. Parental guidance is recommended for younger viewers due to the themes and topics covered in the documentary.

Parental Guide:

“Cuba and the Cameraman” is a documentary film that follows the lives of three Cuban families over a span of 45 years, from the 1970s to the aftermath of significant events like the fall of the Soviet Union and the death of Fidel Castro in 2016. Here is a detailed parental guide to help you decide if this movie is appropriate for your child:

  • Sex & Nudity:
  • The film does not contain any explicit sexual content or nudity.
  • Violence & Gore:
  • There are scenes depicting the challenges faced by the Cuban families, including instances of poverty, political unrest, and emotional struggles. However, there is no graphic violence or gore shown.
  • Profanity:
  • Infrequent mild language may be heard throughout the documentary.
  • Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking:
  • Some scenes may feature social drinking, but there are no depictions of drug use or smoking.
  • Frightening & Intense Scenes:
  • The documentary explores real-life challenges and historical events that may be intense for younger viewers. Topics such as economic hardships, political turmoil, and personal tragedies are discussed.

Overall, “Cuba and the Cameraman” offers a poignant look at the lives of Cuban families over several decades, providing valuable insights into the country’s history and culture. Parents are encouraged to watch the film first and then decide if it is suitable for their children based on their maturity level and ability to understand complex themes.

📺 Streaming and where to watch

streaming service extra information
Netflix Cuba and the Cameraman is now streaming on Netflix. Watch on Netflix:…
Plex Cuba and the Cameraman (2017) Full Movie Online – Plex Life in Cuba for three struggling families over the course of 45 years, from the cautious optimism of the early 1970s to the harrowing 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 death of Fidel Castro.

❝ Quotes and Cult

  • Life in Cuba for three struggling families over the course of 45 years, from the cautious optimism of the early 1970s to the harrowing 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 2016 death of Fidel Castro.
    Jon Alpert
  • Cuba and the Cameraman': Film shows country's journey since the 1970s
  • Alpert's latest film, "Cuba And The Cameraman" premieres on Netflix and in select theaters on Friday, November 24 - one day short of the first anniversary of Castro's death.
  • "Cuba and the Cameraman" begins just before dawn on the morning of November 26, 2016, as Havana wakes up to a world without Fidel Castro for the first time since 1961. The streets are empty ...
  • 45 years and a thousand hours of film in the making, Alpert turns in his best work to date, with 'Cuba and the Cameraman.' Witness the rise and fall of Cuba, through one filmmaker's exhaustive work.
  • For over 45 years, award-winning journalist Jon Alpert has been fascinated by the people and culture of Cuba. He began visiting the island in 1972 as a documentarian, wanting to see for himself whether the revolution was working.
    Raul A. Reyes
  • Alpert started visiting Cuba in the 70's. After founding the Downtown Community Television Center, he became increasingly interested in Cuba's policies. He said: "We heard that Fidel Castro was implementing the social programs that we were fighting for here in New York". The film was edited from over 1,000 hours of footage, Alpert filmed since the first time he visited Cuba.
  • On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 100% based on 8 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10.
  • Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 82 out of 100, based on 5 critics, indicating "Universal acclaim".
  • Glenn Kenny from The New York Times wrote: "In part because of its political blind spots, “Cuba and the Cameraman” is captivating. (Whatever you think of Mr. Alpert’s perspective, it’s interesting.) But it’s mostly worth watching because of human stories like these."
    Glenn Kenny
  • David Ehrlich from IndieWire gave the film a B+ and stated: "If only Alpert had been a bit less genial, if only he had dug a little deeper — if only he had either taken himself out of the equation, or gone the other way and been much more introspective about his complicated feelings about Castro — then “Cuba and the Cameraman” could have been more than just a window into a foreign world. But windows are important; without them, we’d never be able to see through our walls. And this is as clear and wide a window as you’re ever likely to find."
    David Ehrlich
  • Sheri Linden from the Los Angeles Times said about the film: "As a decades-long, ground-level portrait of the country, his vibrant film is unprecedented."
    Sheri Linden
  • Neil Young from The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "A work of old-school humanism that hovers between pro-Revolutionary fervor and a more objective documentary stance, Cuba and the Cameraman is sustained by the strong bonds of trust which the gregarious Alpert has evidently been able to maintain with Cubans from various echelons of this theoretically classless society."
    Neil Young

🤖Cuba and the Cameraman Reddit Talks

Cuba and the Cameraman is a Netflix documentary that chronicles the lives of three Cuban families over four tumultuous decades. The film offers a rare glimpse into Cuban life, both the struggles and the triumphs.

One of the most striking things about the film is the way it shows how the Cuban people have been affected by the country’s political and economic isolation. For decades, Cuba was closely aligned with the Soviet Union, and after the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba’s economy suffered greatly. The film shows how this has affected the lives of ordinary Cubans, who have had to deal with shortages of food, medicine, and other basic necessities.

Despite the challenges they face, the Cuban people are remarkably resilient. The film shows how they have found ways to cope with the hardships they face, and how they have maintained their sense of hope and optimism.

The film also shows how the Cuban people have been affected by the country’s changing political landscape. In recent years, Cuba has begun to open up to the outside world, and this has led to some changes in the country’s political and economic system. The film shows how these changes have affected the lives of the three families, and how they have adapted to the new realities of Cuban life.

Overall, Cuba and the Cameraman is a powerful and moving film that offers a unique perspective on Cuban life. The film is a testament to the resilience of the Cuban people, and it is a reminder of the importance of hope and optimism in the face of adversity.

Here are some of the specific topics that are discussed in the film:

  • The impact of Cuba’s political and economic isolation on the lives of ordinary Cubans
  • The resilience of the Cuban people in the face of adversity
  • The changing political landscape in Cuba
  • The impact of Cuba’s opening up to the outside world on the lives of the three families

The film has received positive reviews from critics, who have praised it for its powerful storytelling and its insights into Cuban life.

Here are some of the reviews that have been written about the film:

  • “Cuba and the Cameraman is a powerful and moving film that offers a unique perspective on Cuban life.” – The New York Times
  • “A must-see for anyone interested in Cuba, Latin America, or the human condition.” – The Washington Post
  • “Cuba and the Cameraman is a powerful reminder of the importance of hope and optimism in the face of adversity.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Top discussions

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

What is “Cuba and the Cameraman” about?

“Cuba and the Cameraman” is a 2017 American documentary film written, directed, and co-produced by Jon Alpert. The film provides a glimpse into life in Cuba over 45 years, capturing the evolution of the country from the early 1970s to the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and the death of Fidel Castro in 2016.

Why did Jon Alpert go to Cuba?

Jon Alpert, an award-winning journalist, visited Cuba starting from 1972 as a documentarian. He was driven by a deep fascination with the Cuban people and culture, wanting to witness firsthand whether the Cuban revolution was indeed working. Over the years, Alpert developed close relationships with Cubans, including the leader of the revolution, Fidel Castro.

What is the Netflix documentary about the cameraman?

“Cuba and the Cameraman” is a Netflix Original documentary film released in 2017, written, directed, and co-produced by Jon Alpert. The documentary chronicles the tumultuous history of Cuba, highlighting significant events such as foreign conquests, freedom movements, and Cold War political dynamics.

What is the Netflix documentary about the cameraman?

The Netflix documentary series recounting the history of Cuba offers audiences a detailed insight into the country’s journey through various historical periods. Covering aspects like foreign conquest, freedom struggles, and Cold War politics, this series provides a comprehensive view of Cuba’s rich and complex past.

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