Cuba is a destination where time has stopped. The buildings and the cars are something out of a movie and the culture is big a vibrant. For some travelers Cuba can seem like an intimidating destination, especially travelers from the United States because of the tumultuous relationship our governments have. To help you get a better grasp on the culture and history of Cuba here are 4 documentaries about Cuba you need to watch before your visit.
Documentaries about Cuba
Cuba and the Cameraman
This is the documentary that inspired me to write this post. Jon Alpert was a young cameraman when he first went to Cuba in 1972, this documentary is his love story with the people of Cuba.
The depiction of Cuba and the 3 families Jon visits over the course of 45 years is honest and authentic. It shows the real Cuba over the years post-Revolution through Jon’s lens and the relationships he developed with the people and Fidel Castro himself. More than any other documentary this made me miss Cuba the most.
You can watch Cuba and the Cameraman on Netflix.
Read More: Cuban Souvenirs
Buena Vista Social Club
Music is the heart and soul of Cuban culture. No matter where you go on the island music is everywhere. This documentary gives the history of the Buena Vista Social Club (an ensemble of legendary Cuban musicians brought together in 1996) and how it revived pre-Revoluntion Cuban music. If you are a lover of music of any kind watch this documentary! Many of these musicians are no longer with us today, but made a lasting impression on their small island country and the world.
Read More: Best Places to Visit in Cuba
The Cuba Libre Story
Raise your hand if you know a lot about Cuban history. Until recently I could not have raised my hand if that question was asked. The Cuba Libre Story recounts the turbulent history of Cuba. Detailing the sugar trade, those who fought for Cuba’s freedom, and post-Revolution Cuba and the Cold War.
I feel, that with input from historians and biographers from all over the world, this docuseries does a great job of not giving a one-sided view of Cuba as many Americans tend to get because of our government’s tumultuous relationship with Cuba.
Fidel: The Untold Story (2001)
Regardless of how you feel about Fidel Castro his impact on Cuba and it’s people is massive. For good or bad, Cuba is the country it is today because of Fidel Castro. This independent documentary gives a deeper look into his life and who he was as a person. Including never before seen footage of Fidel this Estela Bravo film spans 40 years of his life and gives insight into the man behind the Revolution.
While this documentary is very pro-Castro, it enjoyed seeing a different perspective of a man the world finds so controversial. I haven’t made up my mind on Castro yet because I don’t feel like I have enough information to form an educated opinion, but even if you don’t like him I encourage you to watch this documentary and see him through a different lens.