UC Berkeley Library

You can still access the UC Berkeley Library’s services and resources during the closure. Here’s how.

Using the Library during COVID-19

During the pandemic, many of our services are being offered in new ways. To find the latest information on course reserves, book returns, 24/7 online help, and more, visit our COVID-19 portal, which provides more up-to-date information than the text below.


Guerrilla Wars, 1973 (People's Century)

Examines how highly motivated guerrillas have organized revolts that eventually defeated large well-equipped governments. Using interviews and archival footage this film examines the Cuban revolution, America's futile struggle in Vietnam and the Soviet Union's equally unsuccessful attempts to control Afghanistan. 1998. 60 min.

Havana -- The New Art of Making Ruins (Havanna -- Die Neue Kunst Ruinen zu Bauen)

In recent years, Havana has become famous all over the world for the morbid charm of its flaking facades. But these ruins are far less poetic for the people who inhabit them. Houses frequently collapse causing fatalities. This unique documentary tells the stories of the people who reside in these modern ruins, from a homeless man who lives in an abandoned theater, to an expropriated landowner who struggles against the decay of his parental home, to a writer who conceives a philosophy of the ruins to explain the gradual collapse of the city and its political system.

Havana Nagila: The Jews in Cuba.

Through interviews with Cuban Jews and historical narrative, surveys the history of Jewish immigration to Cuba, their assimilation into Cuban culture and their current living conditions. Writer/director Laura Paull. c1995. 56 min.
Reviews and articles:
Goldman, Ilene S. "Documentaries about Jewish Renewal in Contemporary Cuba: Hope or Hype?" Latin American Research Review v32, n3 (Summer, 1997):258 (11 pages).

History Will Tell: Fidel Castro

Commandant Hubert Matos, closest strategist to Che Guevara and the Castro brothers, reexamines the history of the Cuban Revolution from the attack on the Moncada to the recent transfer of power to Fidel Castro's brother Raul. Fidel, afraid that Matos would "overshadow him," sentenced Matos to 20 years in prison for being "too revolutionary." A film by Yves Billon. Dist.: CineFête. c2009. 54 min.

I Am Cuba (Ya Kuba)

Directed by Serge Urusevsky. Cast: Sergio Corrieri, Salvador Vud, Jose Gallardo, Raul Garcia. A Cuban propaganda film first exhibited outside of Cuba and the Soviet Union in 1992. The film, an anthology of pre-revolutionary folk tales, is divided into four parts, each presenting fictional events which led to the success of the revolution under Fidel Castro.

Improper Conduct (Mauvaise Conduite).

This powerful documentary is simply a series of interviews with a fascinating array of Cuban intellectuals and homosexuals who have been persecuted under the Castro regime. The directors are themselves exiles, and they have created a convincing indictment of El Jefe, implicating also those who would turn a blind eye towards repression from the left. A film by Nestor Almendros, Orlando Jimenez Leal. 1984. 110 min.
Reviews and articles:

Inside Castro's Cuba.

With the collapse of the Soviet bloc, Cuba has been presented with its toughest test of strength since the revolution thirty-five years ago. People wonder how long Castro will maintain his leadership. The film discovers huge support for him because he brought Cubans a higher standard of living than that of any other country in the third world. Filming in Cuba for an entire year, the filmmaker gained rare access to Castro himself and to his personal archives resulting in an insightful view of the man and his people. 1994. 51 min.

Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano

Presents unique insights into the Hip-Hop scene in Cuba and the reality of contemporary Cuban politics. The film follows the innovators of this musical movement to their homes, the stage, and as they travel abroad for the first time. Inventos embodies the true spirit of Hip Hop, which is to create something powerful and useful out of what is seemingly impossible. Cuban Hip Hop demonstrates the creative and indestructible spirit of the island and its people despite the hardships of the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

Jose Marti & Cuba Libre (Destino de imperios: 1898 la guerra de Espana-Cuba-USA)

If a single individual may be said to have embodied the development of the Cuban secessionist movement, that person was surely Jose Marti. Set within the context of the turbulent relations between Cuba, Spain, and the USA, this program spotlights Marti, a striking orator, sagacious propagandist, and inspiring leader, and the movement that he founded, Cuba Libre. Although killed during a skirmish at Dos Rios in 1895, Marti lived on as the emblem of the undying desire of the Cuban exile population to free Cuba from foreign control.

Jose Marti: un Hombre Sincero

A film biography of "the Apostle of Cuban Independence," the Cuban patriot, author, and journalist Jose Marti who was a tireless proponent of Cuba's freedom from Spanish rule. Combining documentary material with dramatizations, this program celebrates the selfless life of the freedom fighter, which was marked by imprisonment, exile and ironically, death in his first appearance on the battlefield. In Spanish. Dist.: Films Media Group. 1998. 63 min.