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Charismatic leader


Cuban President Fidel Castro

SOME WOULD never betray him Others would never forgive him. No one will ever forget him.

That's Fidel Castro for you. With his flowing beard, signature greens and cigar, the leader is an icon among his fellow-Cubans. Havana, the Cuban capital, has undergone a sea change in its culture, thanks to Castro's liberal reforms. The facades may be old but the thinking is new, and the people, a rejuvenated, happier lot.

The life and times of the Cuban leader have been captured on celluloid in "Fidel", a film directed by David Atwood.

The film, based on Robert Kirk's book, "Fidel Castro", spanning 60 years, chronicles the rise of one of the most powerful world leaders through revolutions, public and private tragedy, economic woes and political unrest.

The tale is told in flashback. Castro remembers his abortive revolution against General Batista, his imprisonment and exile, his alliance with dynamic Che Guevera, and his ultimate return to Cuba to overthrow the regime and establish himself as the most controversial leader of a State in the world.

The film, shot using a hand-held camera, has a documentary feel to it. The revolution is propelled by some superb Afro-Cuban melodies and rhythms set to music by John Altman.

As for the cast, it includes not-often-heard names such as Victor Huggo Martin, Gael Garcia Bernal, Particia Velasquez, Cecelia Suarez and Tony Plana as General Batista.

The director of cinematography is Checco Varese while the screenplay is by Stephen Tolkein.

Watch out for "Fidel", which is to be telecast in two parts on Hallmark channel, on June 14 and 15 (9.00 p.m.) and June 15 and 16 (5.00 p.m.).

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