Nobody Listened (1987) – A visual history of the first three decades of the Cuban revolution

Nobody Listened (1987):

Nobody Listened is the work of two filmmakers with strong ties to Cuba. Jorge Ulla, who was born in Cuba and also made Guaguasi in 1983 and Navidades en familia in 1993. Nestor Almendros was born in Barcelona, Spain on October 30, 1930 into what would become an anti-Franco family. 18 years later they moved to Cuba. Almendros studied film making in Rome and New York City prior to 1959. When Fidel Castro took power promising the restoration of democracy, Nestor Almendros returns to Cuba. However after the new regime censored two of his film shorts: Gente en la Playa and La Tumba Francesa, he went into exile in Paris. While in France he began to collaborate with filmmakers Erich Rohmer and Francois Truffaut.

Using a collection of interviews, Ulla and Almendros showcase the contrasting realities of Cuba’s 1959 Revolution. After Cuba denies Ulla direct access to the island’s judicial system, Ulla constructs the film around the experience of political prisoners on the island. Thus, offering the director an opportunity to analyze the island’s judicial process (or rather lack thereof) and prison systems without directly visiting Cuba. Amongst those interviews are Jorge Valls, Huber Matos, and Armando Valladares. Ulla also includes interviews of Fidel Castro. The interviews of Castro serve to draw a clear contrast between the Revolution and the realities experienced by political prisoners on the island.

Aside from insights offered by former political prisoners, the documentary analyzes the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, the power of nonviolent resistance on the island with the founding of the Human Rights Committee in Cuba, and efforts made by the international community to hold Cuba’s government accountable. This documentary serves as a vital analysis of the island’s reality following the 1959 Revolution and an evident lack of accountability offered by the Cuban state.

It is a visual history of the first three decades of the Cuban revolution.