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The 'impossible' crane shot from Soy Cuba (1964) [video] (twitter.com/nickdale)
512 points by tehnub 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 132 comments



"“We used a special cable device which I built in Moscow before going to Cuba. We planned to fly the camera between two big buildings in a major street. Because of security and insurance problems we used it in a little street. We used two cables and a small cart with eight wheels and a fork underneath where the camera was placed at the [end] of a handheld move. The secret of how we attached the camera to the cart was a magnet, part of which was in the cart and part of which was built on the camera. From the window the camera moved out about 100 feet."[1]

The camera was an Éclair CM3 Camiflex, which is a beautiful little camera first built in 1945. There are still some for sale.[2]

[1] https://ascmag.com/articles/flashback-soy-cuba

[2] http://www.visualproducts.com/storeProductDetail02.asp?produ...


Also from the first article you linked:

> Very soon after we came back to Russia, more than half of our crew died. I survived because I was very young.

The entire article is amazing, it talks about ingenious mechanical solutions created on the spot, hacks to get desired effects, and a team relentlessly perusing their dream.

Incredible and well worth reading in its entirety.


> Very soon after we came back to Russia, more than half of our crew died. I survived because I was very young.

This is misquoted, mistranslated or just plain made up.

It is attributed to "Calzatti", one of camermen. There are two Calzatti (Кольцатый in Russian) - father (Arkadi), born in 1905, and son (Alexander). IMDB lists the latter as a cameraman, but Russian wikipedia page on file list the father as one. Film credits have it at "A. Кольцатый", which can be either. The film is not listed in filmography of the father, so most likely it was indeed the son who was the cameraman.

Then things get muddy. They both appear to have immigrated to the US shortly after and adopted Calzetti as the last name. Then, [1] talks about "Italian camera operator Alexander Calzetti" being the part of the film's great recipe. But a 2004 documentary on creation of Soy Cuba credits Aleksandr Kaltsatyj as himself.

So that's a mess in itself.

Then there's also an interview with the principal cameraman [2] where he speaks about his work, explaining in detail how the shot was made, and he doesn't mention Calzetti even once and repeating that most of the shooting was done by the director and himself.

To top it off the only mention of the mysterious crew plague is that sentence in the GP's acsmag article, derived from a brief interview given to that magazine by Calzetti.

Long story short, I think it's safe to assume that nothing horrible actually happened to the crew upon their return home.

1. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1995-12-08-951208...

2. http://screenstage.ru/?p=13380


I feel like I've read this exact comment on HN before, so either this situation has somehow happened more than once, or this story has been doing the rounds for a couple of years despite best efforts to debunk it.


I went to the article hoping for more context, but it just leaves that statement about more than half of the crew dying without any explanation.


The lens must be super wide angle? The distortion looks similar to a GoPro.


Yeah, most of the film was shot on a 9.8mm Kinoptic.


Pretty amazing. I've never seen b+w footage in a film have that sort of distortion in that duration.


Soy Cuba contains lush and gorgeous B&W cinematography. The film opens up with the camera flying over the waters of Cuba; the reflection of the water is glistening in a way unlike other films. I believe they used an X-ray film strip to achieve this shot.

Mikhail Kalatozov has included another impressive shot at the end of his previous work, "The Cranes Are Flying." (Palme d'Or at Cannes 1958) The camera follows the protagonist, then gets seamlessly lifted up by a crane to depict the entire street parading.

While Soviet-era films does not have much exposure in the English-speaking world, there are so many gems, critically and technically. The filmmakers were acutely aware of great filming techniques.

Also check out:

Walking the Streets of Moscow (1964) - B-roll scenery contains another lush reflection of the Moscow waters

Ivan the Terrible (1944/1958) - Eisenstein is an ardent practitioner of the montage, and prefers to static camera shots. However, his compositions are very imaginative, and there is no shot you want to miss. His film also briefly experiments with color, and he exploits colored lighting to emphasize the characters' psyche.

Anything by Andrei Tarkovsky - Tarkovsky is indisputably a master of Russian cinema after Eisenstein. He often shoots in nature, but no director shoots with such rich texture of the mud. His long shots emphasizes the bleakness inherent in the Russian psyche.

The Ascent (1977) - Set in WWII, the film shows the resistance escaping the Nazis covered in snow and panting in the cold. Great snow photography.

Hard to Be a God (2013) - A sci-fi story on the immigration of humans to a different planet, the colonizers inhabit the inhospitable environment. Like Tarkovsky, the slow dragging in the mud conveys the dreary lives.

These are recommendations I came up off the top of my head relating to cinematography, but there are definitely many more to appreciate.


The shot from OP looks like IR film, it’s what makes it look “HDR” with plenty of detail in the shadows and sky. If it were shot on normal film then exposing for the sky would make the areas in shadow look black.


Yes it's shot on infra red stock. From further into the twitter thread:

https://twitter.com/NickDale/status/1450981356251451394



For long, unbroken, takes I would additionally recommend Bi Gan's 2018 film Long Day's Journey into Night whose second part features an hour long take over various open terrain and enclosures. I would recommend it in any case, as it's a beautiful film by a highly creative young director who was inspired by Tarkovsky to become a filmmaker.


I would like to recommend Timecode (2000) [1]. The screen is divided into four quarters, each containing a single 93 minute take, all shot simultaneously. A camera will follow one person into a room and follow another one out, or you end up with multiple cameras showing different angles of the same events, or four completely unrelated events. Careful audio mixing and timing guides your attention.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timecode_(2000_film)


I saw this one in a theater when it came out. The audio effects were really good. IIRC many scenes were on an open set, in the streets of LA, so the actors and cinematographers had to deal with that in real time.


There's also Russian Ark, which is an insane 96 minute tracking shot of multiple scenes in the Winter Palace in St Petersburg.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Ark


Yes a beautiful movie until that violinist looks at the camera.


Thank you! Long Day’s Journey into the Night was the first movie I watch at the cinema after they reopened in 2020. I knew nothing about it. I was very confused by the first part, but when the second part started and I noticed they weren’t cutting I was locked in like few other times. I had never seen a movie that depicts so well how it feels to dream, and be in a dream.


Agreed! I knew to expect it, but not the slow burn of anxiety and mystery that (for me) resulted from being trapped in that single take as it evolved. Our screening was 2D but I think it was shot in 3D. I wonder if that would make the effect even more pronounced.


That was really impressive. From motorcycles to lifts, the camera continued throughout various platforms.

Bi Gan's long shots are definitely influenced by Tarkovsky. It's also thematically interesting to see the lives of rural Chinese villages.


Walking the Streets of Moscow is a beautiful movie. The cinematography, the acting, the music, the cast, the story. Young Nikita Mikhalkov[0] is excellent as the lead. Almost like if Ferris Bueller's Day Off was Soviet Socialist Realism, or something. So much in that one film. I love how it's framed by the digging of the metro.

Haven't seen the other movies except The Cranes are Flying. Thank you for those suggestions.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikita_Mikhalkov


My favourite is the "battle on the ice" sequence from Alexander Nevsky, by Eisenstein:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKZPgGbUuX0

... well because it's epic! But also because it has a kind of comic-book or perhaps theatric aesthetic. I'm talking particularly of this scene:

https://youtu.be/vKZPgGbUuX0?t=267

Where you see the Great Magisters of the Teutonic knights riding on as their oriflames pass by (edit: also, Prokoviev). The most epic scene I've watched outside of the final battle in the original Conan movie. And while you can clearly see how it was shot, that doesn't detract from how badass it all looks.

I don't think it's possible to create experiences like these with modern techniques, perhaps because the latter are so perfect they leave nothing to the imagination and the emotions of the viewer. I don't think modern audiences can even parse that kind of language anymore :(


I couldn't put my finger on it but now I can: it reminds me of wooden puppets theatre, and that goes way back. I wonder if it had been an influence for Eisenstein.


Definitely theatrical aesthetic for me; I agree, it looks badass


I'm guessing that, especially for the earlier films, if there are a lot of outside constraints on the stories you can tell then your creative energy goes into how you are telling the story that's allowed. That's obviously an oversimplification but for many creative folks, that drive to organize the world in a new way is what constitutes their art so it has to be expressed in whatever way possible.


X-Ray or infra-red?


IR.


Water absorbs IR, making it seem darker.


Parajanov's works are also incredible. A lot of his stuff was not "acceptable" in the U(kr)SSR because of their regionalism and stark non-realist aesthetics, but Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a fascinating and gorgeous look at traditional Ukrainian folktale and visual culture.

If you like Hard to Be A God, you should check out Aleksei German's other films, especially Khrustalyov, My Car! from 1998, which is nominally a comedy film, but plays much more like a surrealist horror film that riffs endlessly on the Kafkaesque paranoia of Stalinist Russia. It would make a brilliant double feature with Iannucci's Death of Stalin from 2017, which was definitely influenced by German's film.


Saving this for later. Thanks for the informative post!


>"...bleakness inherent in the Russian psyche..."

This is one big pile of BS.


Most Russians I know would agree that there's something along those lines in the Russian psyche, although I'm not sure "bleakness" is the right word. Fatalism, perhaps?


I am Russian. Was born and lived in USSR until I was 30. As you might guess I knew a boatloads of them and I think most of them including yours truly would call a BS on that. Reading Dostoyevsky does not make one know Russians.


Nor does being Russian make one know Russians. It helps though


If you open YouTube in Incognito mode from Russia, with most watched stuff, you'll see no Tarkovsky, Dostoyevksy or other gloomy movies. Instead, half of the preview images are comedy movies and shows, and other half is boxing, cars, history.

It would be really hard to find the psyche you're talking about in everyday artistic content.

As for high art, like Tarkovksy, I saw the same tragic content in arthouse movies from Westrn Europe.


A lot of the western idea of Russian seriousness is probably from the difference in cultural attitudes toward smiling.

Westerners look at pictures of non-smiling Russians and think they are angry or serious or sad.

There is a picture floating around with three astronauts, an American, a Russian, and an Italian: Big Smile, Soul Piercing Death Stare, Big Smile.

If you are in any way familiar with russians, you understand why, but a lot of westerners just aren't, and completely misread it.


Believe it or not there have been quite a few threads about this:

Why Russians do not smile (2002) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27317859 - May 2021 (481 comments)

What a Russian Smile Means - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17445108 - July 2018 (67 comments)

What a Russian Smile Means - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17381975 - June 2018 (1 comment)

What a Russian Smile Means - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17376212 - June 2018 (1 comment)

Do Russians smile at each other? - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7491944 - March 2014 (1 comment)

Why do Russians smile so little (and Americans so much?) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2375633 - March 2011 (105 comments)


we don't smile because we are banned a lot


HN, happily, has many Russian users who follow the site guidelines and therefore are not banned.


It could be norms are different but people aren't. Clearly it is an American norm to smile, but a lot of Americans complain about it. Sometime pressure to smile is interpreted as racism or sexism.

I was recently told that I only smile when I'm talking to a particular person at work. It wasn't hostile, but it did imply that I don't smile "enough" and that I haven't noticed other people smiling more.


>"Westerners look at pictures of non-smiling Russians and think they are angry or serious or sad."

Please stop. If you ever bothered to look at regular people walking on the street you would find exactly the same proportion of smiling or neutral (mostly neutral) faces. When I first came to Toronto I actually paid attention just to that expecting to see this myth - bunch of people walking on the street and smiling. Did not happen. And if you ever bothered to punch "Russian astronauts group" into Google search you will find plenty of smiling faces except when those were taken during some highly official situation.

So yes I am "in any way familiar with Russians" and from that perspective you are at least simply misinformed or a victim of how Western (totally unbiased and objective of course) media represents Russian.


Hey, can you please follow the site guidelines (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html)? I appreciate your points and the perspective you're representing. But we need you to do it without name-calling and personal attacks.

I know that can be tough when sensitive places are being prodded, but I don't think anyone is being nasty here. Also, as a bonus, it will make your comments more persuasive.

(One irony, btw, of threads where people argue about national characteristics is that often the arguments turn out to be between people of that background themselves, typically without realizing it. Of course that doesn't give anyone a pass to break the rules, but it does change the frame.)


>"But we need you to do it without name-calling and personal attacks."

I do not think I've made any personal attacks here. As for name calling - the post I responded to is way more fitting.

>"Also, as a bonus, it will make your comments more persuasive"

Maybe. I just said what I think about the statement. I do not really care if my opinion persuades anyone.


I was reacting to "If you ever bothered to look at regular people" and your other use of "if you ever bothered". That was uncalled for.

Please follow the rules if you want to post here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


This is not just speculation but personal observation. I am in the position of knowing several russians and americans (while living in nether country), and I do think this is a pretty pronounced difference.

It's not people in the street perhaps that is the big contrast, but in social interaction.

The americans pretty much always smile when they greet you regardless of whether you've met, and do the whole fake "how are you" routine. I've never encountered russians doing that. It's not that they never smile, but that the reasons for smiling aren't quite the same.

It may be a generational thing as well. Russia is a lot less isolated from the west today, so these cultural clashes may be fading away.


The number of Italians emphatically gesticulating with their hands is very likely 0 if you take a snapshot of people walking on the streets of some big city in an average morning. Yet, that stereotype is not entirely devoid of information.


That's rather correct, I'd say.

The thing is, if I remember correctly, the habit of smiling in the photos appeared in the 20th century in the US. So it's still not here.

As for public interactions, among Russians the difference is that you have to look at the eyebrows and the forehead, which indicate the person being attentive and welcoming, or relaxed, or tense.

When Russians see Americans have smile with lips and cheeks, but forehead and eyebrows relaxed or tense, they probably can't realize it, but perceive this as "fake".

The funny thing is, in Scandinavia, especially Iceland people tend to show even less signs of being "open" in public interaction. At least, I felt unease at first.


You sound pretty bleak to me..


I get the temptation to make a joke like that but please don't cross into personal attack.


Well it is cloudy outside today.


the idea that it's inherent to the Russian psyche is a kind of essentialism, no? I would think that if it exists at all, it would be cultural or environmental.


> I would think that if it exists at all, it would be cultural or environmental.

Russia has both a culture and an environment.


then it's not part of the "Russian psyche", is it? It's just that Russia can just suck.


It sounds like you consider the land to be separate and apart from the country or nation.

Do words like родина or отечество have a connotation of an intimate relationship between the people and the land, though?

In English, one synonym for indigenous is autochthonous, supposed to stem from Greek for literally "people arising out of the earth".


Leviatan is a great movie and show the Russian psyche. «In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man's arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.» https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2802154/


The only thing it shows is what that particular author wanted to show. Judging national character by a single movie is not the best approach I would say.

When you live in a country for extended period of time and deal with the locals every day on different levels maybe by then you will have grasped it.


Personal anecdote: This was the first film I ever projected in 35mm. Our university theater obtained a print from the national film archive of Venezuela; it was a copy of the 1995 restoration. Incredibly striking, lush visuals, and partially responsible for my continued personal and professional interest in screening archival film. Six years later, I still remember the joy of projecting this exact sequence. I'm glad the film survives.


It is really a beautiful movie. Highly recommended for anyone who loves cinematography.

However, as a movie it flopped at the time despite the great technical work. The Soviets completely misread and misunderstood the Cubans and turned into a melancholic poetic piece, that had zero appeal, except maybe for the Soviet team who made it. I mean stuff like the address to "Mr. Columbus" in the intro on how the ships "took away all the sugar and left only tears". It's true figuratively on a level, but it just isn't how Cubans would have put it.

There is a documentary that was made where they interviewed Cubans and the Russians who worked on the film. It's quite fascinating, but I can't seem to find it anymore to provide a link to it.


1917 had some interesting shots where the camera was transferred from foot to wire to bike/car, etc. You can see a bit of it here:

https://youtu.be/bW22bmSWKXU?t=209

I worked on a shoot two days ago as a drone operator where we couldn't get a drone permit in the conservation park location (raptors nesting at this time of year), even for a few shots 2-5 metres off the ground. The client had a particular shot in mind and literally brought a ladder which we carried a couple hundred metres for the photographer and camera operator to climb.


It makes me happy that at some point, someone says "environment first; non negotiable".


It is definitely much stricter here than other states of Australia. If there is a known sea eagle nest for example, there will be an exclusion zone with a 2km radius.

In this case, the raptors on the cliffs meant that we couldn’t use even a micro drone supervised by a ranger several kilometres away.

(The project here was for a guided coastal walk.)


What a metric ton of performative bullshit that is.

It’s a hard no to fly a micro drone under a supervision of a ranger, but it’s perfectly legal to pour hundreds of tons of ecosystem-killing chemicals in the ocean for years.


I am involved in a project that is on hold right now because a sea turtle laid eggs on a beach. We are doing the right thing in some narrow areas.


Reminds me - I was filming for a cruise in a remote area a few months ago. There was a baby turtle that was struggling to get out of the hole from where its siblings had escaped that morning. The guest lecturer ended up in a feisty debate with a guest (who happened to be some sort of environmental researcher) about whether it was appropriate to even-just-slightly help the turtle out of the hole or leave it to struggle and be picked off by birds. All in front of 10-20 other guests who were all pretty keen to see the turtle bolt for the ocean.

The lecturer wanted to prevent it being helped but eventually gave in. (The turtle wasn't particularly weak, just got a bad break with the shell or caved face of the hole it seemed.)


Ah, no discussion about "impossible" shots is complete without mentioning the penultimate scene of Antonioni's masterpiece "Professione: Reporter" ("The Passenger"):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvbqy8FZq8Y

I read somewhere that this is the film Jack Nicholson is most proud of.

> In a DVD commentary, decades later, Nicholson said Antonioni built the entire hotel so as to get this shot.

> Since the shot was continuous, it was not possible to adjust the lens aperture as the camera left the room and went into the square. Hence the footage had to be taken in the very late afternoon near dusk, in order to minimise the lighting contrast between the brightness outside and that in the room.

> The camera ran on a ceiling track in the hotel room and when it came outside the window, was meant to be picked up by a hook suspended from a giant crane nearly 30 metres high. A system of gyroscopes was fitted on the camera to steady it during the switch from this smooth indoor track to the crane outside. Meanwhile, the bars on the window had been given hinges. When the camera reached the window and the bars were no longer in the field of view, they were swung away to either side. At this time the camera's forward movement had to stop for a few seconds as the crane's hook grabbed it and took over from the track. To hide this, the lens was slowly and smoothly zoomed until the crane could pull the camera forward.[Note 1] Then the cameraman walked the camera in a circle around the square, giving the crew time to shut the window bars before the camera returned to look through the window from the outside this time. Antonioni directed the scene from a van by means of monitors and microphones, talking to assistants who communicated his instructions to the actors and operators. [0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passenger_(1975_film)


Yeah, very impressive, but uh, 240p.


“Russian Ark” from 2002 was composed of a single 96-minute shot.

https://filmschoolrejects.com/russian-ark-long-take/


Victoria (2015) also did it in a single shot


Elephant by Gus Van Sant too :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQjTAbt_e58

(ah, my mistake, only the first minutes...)


The thing with Elephant is that many takes are just repetitions of others from the point of view of different characters.


Not a cinematography buff but these shots are still impressive when you try to wrap your head around them.

I wish there were a breakdown as to how these kinds of shots were done using the technology they had at the time.

Edit: This tweet[1] suggests that the camera was being passed around.

[1]: https://twitter.com/indiarama/status/1451251934879387651


There is, sort of. The Cinematographers' Mailing List, in constant operation since 1996, is an old-school listserv. Its members range from non-cinematographers, to beginners, to (many) academy-award winners. It is easily the largest single body of living knowledge in the world of cinematography and filmmaking. Join and ask... I promise you there are 100 people who know the granular, minute details of how this shot was accomplished, and chances are good that several members know people who worked on the movie. https://cinematography.net

As a small bit of trivia for those who wonder - it has been diligently maintained as a listserv, and a very simple website, because it is actively used by filmmaking crews in active production, which frequently takes place in god-forsaken corners of the earth with extremely limited connectivity. If it's 2am in the desert in Morocco, and you need help on alternate solutions for the the gimbal rig that just crapped out... you need a low-bandwidth way to tap into the collective wisdom. And that sort of active community happens regularly.


Thanks for this wonderful piece of completely unexpected trivia


That would be my guess.

Camera man #1 is on the ground. They attach the camera to some sort of pulley which pulls it up the wall. Camera man #2 is on the roof and walks to the room where they're all sewing and then attaches to a second pulley that is suspended from cables running between the buildings (you can see them at the top of the shot).


Ex 2nd camera assist here. Handing off a camera mid-shot just asking for failure. Almost any cost to avoid that is going to be worthwhile. There are some maneuvers that can work, like one person to some mounts. 2 people to a mount is usually even better actually. I am being pretty abstract here because these situations are very rare, unique, and I only ever saw them on indie sets because it’s just too expensive to even try this sort of thing otherwise. But the main point here is that a human + camera is an incredible combination and you want to take every measure possible to never come between them.

As for how they executed this shot, there are a lot of possibilities, but I doubt there was a hand off, probably from a person to a cable if so, but in that case they had a poor plan with very good luck.

Never come between a man and his camera!


On the other hand, if you can hand off to a cameraman disguised as a carseat, that makes it all worth it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxb9xzAaYjM (The Raid 2, car chase behind the scenes)


Wikipédia says it was just a single cameraman with a hooked vest, it was being attached and detached to cranes as he went

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_Cuba



they were using wires (source: heard from people who worked with authors of the movie)


You can literally see the wires in the final section.


Another "impossible" shot that I have always been impressed by:

https://filmschoolrejects.com/contact-mirror-scene/

"How They Shot the Impossible Mirror Scene in ‘Contact’"


Is it just me or the "seamless transition" in this much acclaimed, dissected and discussed shot is actually very un-natural movement of hands and legs by the actor -- and not "seamless" in that sense.

I guess it must have been a result of conscious body movements by the actor or a many-retake attempt to get to a particular "target" pose at a particular point in the run to make the "seamless" transition of shots possible in post. Feels unnatural and forced to me -- and distracts from what could have been a minor mind bending effect as we watch the movie.


I will definitely have to watch this!

The opening of Touch of Evil (1959) is a long tracking shot that is beautifully choreographed:

https://youtu.be/mBAtcI_t-Z8

But probably the most amazing tracking shot I’ve ever seen is the 59 minute continuous shot at the end of Long Day's Journey into Night (2018) which is in 3D, but I’ve only seen the 2D version.


And the opening shot of The Player, which references Touch of Evil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEk-QGNQ3OM


Ah… I probably haven’t watched The Player since it was released and I definitely hadn’t seen Touch of Evil then.

Earlier this year I watched Femme Fatale and the opening has * Double Indemnity* playing on TV which by funny coincidence I had just watched the night before.


I remember this movie was a gold mine but, man, seeing Buck Henry play himself pitching a sequel to "The Graduate" is hilarious.


I have an original movie poster from Soy Cuba, its a beautiful piece of art, along with all Cuban movie posters. They speak to the creativity and vibrancy of the culture. I suggest a quick google of 'cuban movie posters;' from what I've been told typically the artist had not seen the movie or a limited amount of it, then was tasked to make an original poster. They often have no similarity to their western movie poster


What an amazing architecture. Shows just how ugly and deplorable modern architecture is.


This entire thread contains some beautiful shots, I've really enjoyed watching them all this morning!

I can add the battlefield traversal scene from Children of Men https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjFHqohaHYU which certainly doesn't share Soy Cuba's beauty but makes up for it in other ways.



> The third story describes the suppression of rebellious students led by a character named Enrique at Havana University (featuring one of the longest camera shots). Enrique is frustrated with the small efforts of the group and wants to do something drastic. He goes off on his own planning on assassinating the chief of police, however when he gets him in his sights, he sees that the police chief is surrounded by his young children, and Enrique cannot bring himself to pull the trigger. While he is away, his fellow revolutionaries are printing flyers. They are infiltrated by police officers who arrest them. One of the revolutionaries begins throwing flyers out to the crowd below only to be shot by one of the police officers. Later on, Enrique is leading a protest at the university. More police are there to break up the crowd with fire hoses. Enrique is shot after the demonstration becomes a riot. At the end, his body is carried through the streets; he has become a martyr to his cause.

Uhh... wouldn't Cuba arrest and / or execute a capitalist university student protesting the communist government? Doesn't seem very accurate


Well... where to begin?

* it's a 1964 movie

* it's set in pre-revolutionary times

* the students are arrested and/or shot, respectively

* the students aren't capitalists

* there were widespread protests, just a few months ago, and not everyone was arrested


And it was made by Mikhail Kalatozov, the famous Soviet director. Obviously the point of the movie was to support Castro's regime (the USSR's ally) by showing the oppression of the pre-revolutionary times.


But that's my point - the oppression under communism is just as awful, except now you can't even own anything. Propaganda


The student is the communist, they're protesting the government existing before the revolution.

People do not generally equate fights for or against one's cause, even if the methods are the same.


Year 1964, don't you think that it would be a communist student protesting against exploitative US-backed regime?


You got it reversed, this is pre revolution, the student is the Marxist hero


This is set in pre-communist Cuba, under the dictator Fulgencio Batista.


Waaaay more lo-fi but this is one of my favourites from The Raid 2. I remember seeing the film and just thinking WTF how did that shot just work? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxb9xzAaYjM


Does anybody know if it's possible to watch the entire movie anywhere? It looks like Milestone Films did a 4k restoration in 2019 but the link to watch it doesn't seem to work any more and their web page indicates that physical copies are "not currently available for home use".


In what language? You can watch it on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt-RbV8KiC0 It is in Russian but there are subtitles.


One of my favorite "impossible" shots is the mirror scene from Contact: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD0_5HFMPIg


My favorite unbroken take from a modern movie is from the opening scene of Spectre, a James Bond Film: https://youtu.be/cbqv1kbsNUY



If you enjoyed this check out the 6 minute shot with no cuts in True Detective. It's really something in HD, but I couldn't find a video.

Here's the full thing but at lower resolution (the audio is muffled and it looks washed out to me), also [NSFW]: https://vimeo.com/172079250


Fun fact: Kalatozov was actually Georgian, born as Kalatozishvili. His family belonged to a noble Georgian Amirejibi house that traces its history back to the 13th century.

One of Mikhail's uncles served as a General in the Imperial Russian Army, while Georgia was annexed by Russia. Another one was among the founders of the Tbilisi State University.


Wow, the music is also very striking. Does anybody know if there's a modern recording of it?


The entire film can be found here (in 4k even): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt-RbV8KiC0


Le Haine (95) had a great flying camera scene: https://youtu.be/4qo3EwozH0Y (about half way through) Great Film too!


Other interesting scenes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFkHadvj4DI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSfciVMm5IM

Fun fact: la Haine was filmed in color because the coproductors didn't believe a b&w movie would be a hit


Thanks! That Soy Cuba scene brought to mind one in La Haine to me too, but I couldn't locate it. Here's La Haine, complete with English subtitles; the famous scene starts at about 40:20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKppkmlB5HQ


The thing I have trouble figuring out - is Soy Cuba under copyright?


Is this available to stream online anywhere?


Mentioned elsewhere in the comments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt-RbV8KiC0 , in Russian but with English subtexts


Looks like the legit just used a camera on a rope lol. Definitely "impossible" smh


Johnny LaRue was onto something with getting a crane shot into Polynesian Town.


This film is absolute must see. But be aware you’ll get both a visual pleasure and a shot of communism right into your heart :)


Thanks for changing the absolutely insufferable title of the tweet!


Without any context, this makes for a pretty epic article title


great camera, i saw it in shanghai , 我是古巴, it is amazing film with fire in my heart, thank to the 4k fixed version.


this was kind of a let down i watched until the end and was expecting something more.


The first part that shocked me was when they went over the metal thing around 0:51, and then again when they went into the building. The effect they produced here without any CGI or drones is pretty amazing in my opinion.


It felt like my soul was leaving my body at the end! Maybe it’s just because I don’t handle heights that well though


Yeah, I know what you mean -- I guess its for film geeks.


It's 1964. No CGI. No drones. No lightweight cameras.

And yet, today, such a shot is still as impossible and very rarely done.


Why is it so impossible? I get that cinema cameras are a bit heavier to handle, but the trickiest part seem to be the hand-offs between walking backwards, pulling the camera up and receiving the camera on the upper floor.

It's a complex shot and there isn't really that big of pay off beyond having done the shot, but it's by no means "impossible", or am I missing something here?


> Why is it so impossible

Because it requires imagination. And then careful planning. And then execution.

In the shot, there is a crowd in the streets, there are people on balconies and in the rooms acting in concert with the camera etc.

These days this is offloaded to overworked underpaid CGI artists at a second production unit.


And the coordination with the huge crowd.


Movie was filmed on lightweight handheld camera.


You surely don't have to be a film buff to appreciate the skill and artistry that went into that shot. I'm not at all a film buff but to me it is a work of art on par with other works of art regardless of medium.


Two soyjaks (Fidel&Ernesto) pointing at starving Russians who are making free(!) propaganda flick for them.


Ehh, starving in 1964? Maybe not living extra lavish, but hardly starving.




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