Director: Oliver Stone

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Oliver Stone crosses into a different world than the one in which we're used to seeing him, the world of a filmmaker/journalist/interviewer, in this highly intimate portrait of a national leader most Americans know only as a beard, a cigar, and jungle fatigues. Shot for television and edited down from more than 30 hours of interviews (perhaps it's better to call them conversations), Comandante documents Stone's talks over three days in Cuba—three days of unedited and uncensored exchange—with Fidel Castro, a man who has, perhaps, spent more time on a the international stage than any other leader in world history.

In a candid and revealing discussion, Castro speaks openly about his youth, his rise to power, and even how he sees the present state of his country. And while there is no question that Fidel is an agile and sometimes elusive subject, Stone has, by entering into the film not just as Castro's interlocuter but also as his coparticipant, set a stage where both are in the camera eye and share the risk, perhaps getting a response that would never otherwise have been possible.

Friendly, yet tenacious and dogged in pursuing various lines of questioning, Stone and Fidel conduct an often illuminating tete-a-tete, elucidating how it is that Cuba has existed at the border of the world's greatest superpower as its most persistent antagonist for more than four decades.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details


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