By Vannessa Hearman
MELBOURNE — The Australia-Cuba Friendship Society here presented a series of documentaries, "Images of Cuba", on July 27 at Carringbush Library in Richmond. The Australian premiere of these Cuban documentaries was part of the group's July 26 celebrations.
The night began with some witty, tongue-in-cheek cartoons from Cuba. These were followed by a short film documenting the story of a Spanish couple's struggle against fascism during the Spanish Civil War and in Germany. It is the highly personal story of the love and sacrifice that bound the young family together and motivated the husband to cycle thousands of miles through France to be reunited with his family, upon his escape from the Germans.
Following this was a poignant dramatisation of Ernesto Cardenal's poem, "Prayer for Marilyn Monroe". This poem drew parallels and contrasts between the technicolor superficiality of Hollywood in the '50s and '60s and the simultaneous suffering in many parts of the world. It was very perceptive cinematography in its treatment of a sensitive piece of literature.
The last documentary was The Story of a Battle. Made in 1962, it related the story of Cuba's difficulties shortly after the revolution, focussing in particular on the literacy campaign and the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Cuban consul Francisco Marchante answered questions from the audience on matters such as the economic direction of Cuba now that it must rely less on the USSR. He said that Cubans are preparing for hardship ahead, for example by introducing bicycles in the face of cuts to public transport. In the light of the continued attempts by the US to undermine the Cuban revolution, the country's achievements have been nothing short of miraculous.