December 14, 2005

Race War and Ridley Scott

All the riddles of modern life are addressed, if not answered, in the history of Cuba.

Preparing a new section on “Race in Cuba” for the website has been a fascinating experience, and I was glad to revisit and learn more about men like Martín Morúa Delgado, José Miguel Gómez, Evaristo Estenoz, Julían Valdés Sierra and many others.

If the first 20 years of the Cuban republic (1902 – 1922) were a film, it be a great, dramatic event worthy of a Ridley Scott. The so-called “race war” of 1912 (not so much a war as an excuse for a white government to hunt down and kill a bunch of black people) would be among the most dramatic and disturbing footage ever shot by Mr. Scott, who’s known for his visual eloquence.

(Dear Mr. Ridley Scott: Let’s you and I sit down and talk about this soon. I’m you biggest fan.)

This story features not just drama, but action, political corruption, personal betrayal, bloodshed, state-condoned racist murders, great sugar crops and beautiful beaches, wealthy tourists, foreign industrialists, bankers, investors, and the ever-present Cuban penchant for focusing exclusively on our disagreements in order to make things worse. What a movie!

Unofficially, my list of favorite Ridley Scott movies in some sort of late-night order: Gladiator, Blade Runner, Alien, Black Hawk Down, Thelma and Louise, Matchstick Men, Hannibal, The Duelists. Of course, the absolute worst Ridley Scott movie ever is still better than most people’s best, and I’m still not sure where Kingdom of Heaven stands in my unofficial list, but it is there. I’ll have to see it one more time to decide.



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