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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

[DVD] Waiting For Fidel (1974, ***)

Fidel629.jpgFrom the shelf: A long unseen, very funny predecessor to the comic, self-centric documentary essays of Nick Broomfield and Michael Moore is a topical DVD again, Australian-Canadian filmmaker Michael Rubbo’s very funny Waiting for Fidel (Facets). In 1974, Rubbo set out with Joey Smallwood, the septuagenarian socialist former premier of Newfoundland and Geoff Stirling, a broadcasting millionaire-“”he’s not coming down here to swallow this Communism”– to get a day to interview Fidel Castro on his own turf. Castro leaves them waiting… and waiting… They take the sun, drink, prepare lists of questions at the beach or around the pool. The seemingly informal give-and-take on politics in Cuba and Canada, as well as their perceptions of the contrasts between socialism and capitalism, are digressive but telling. (Extras include the now-older Rubbo and Stirling’s amusing reminiscences.)

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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
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