Fidel and Che (Fidel) (2000)

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Released 11-Jul-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 197:20 (Case: 204)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (102:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Attwood
Studio
Distributor
Showtime
Warner Home Video
Starring Víctor Huggo Martin
Gael García Bernal
Patricia Velasquez
Cecilia Suárez
Maurice Compte
Margarita Rosa de Francisco
Enrique Arce
José María Yazpik
Manuel Sevilla
Alejandra Gollás
Ernesto Godoy
Guillermo Díaz
Tony Plana
Case ?
RPI $9.95 Music John Altman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

    'He Fought for Freedom. He Settled for Power' 

    The quote above which appears on the front cover of this movie as it has been released here in Region 4 seems to sum up the movie and the life of Fidel Castro (Victor Huggo Martin) very well. This is a Hallmark television production from 2000 which was released in Region 1 under the title Fidel!, which is also the title in the credits of the movie itself. The film takes a docudrama style to the subject matter and seemingly attempts to tell the story of Fidel as accurately as possible, although admits up front that some characters are composites and dialogue is constructed. The movie credits a couple of non-fiction books as its source.

    Most of the three and a quarter hour running time focuses on his life before taking control of Cuba, with only one hour dedicated to events after 1959. The film starts in 1949 with Fidel as a young man, who is committed to removing the American control over his nation. It then follows through his early political life and then into rebellion when General Batista takes control of Cuba in 1952. His armed rebellion tactics are a massive failure and many of his followers end up dead and he lands in prison. Once released, he goes to Mexico to train an army and then returns, again to be met with failure initially. He then sets up in the mountains and commences a long term guerrilla war against the government until taking power in 1959. Once they take control, Fidel & his men such as Che Guevara (Gael Garcia Bernal) start idealistically but then start to turn on each other and struggle with the task of day to day government. By comparison to the events before 1959, important events such as the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis seem to be a little glossed over.

    Despite the long run time I found this movie interesting and it certainly kept my interest throughout, probably because I did not have a large amount of detailed knowledge about Fidel before watching this film. The acting from Martin & Bernal, both Mexican actors, was very good. Bernal is the better known of the two having starred in The Motorcycle Diaries and Amores Perros. The directing and cinematography are competent but nothing spectacular. The show was filmed in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

    Considering the low price, this film is certainly worth a look for people interested in modern history or Cuba.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is average.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout but you certainly wouldn't get excited about it. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was quite poor. Grain was present throughout.

    The colour was dull and skin tones were sometimes blotchy. I also noticed some cross-colourisation occasionally.

    Artefacts included some occasional macro-blocking and a few white specks.

    There are subtitles in English and English for the hearing impaired. They were clear and easy to read but a little small.

    The layer change occurs at 102:54 and was not noticeable.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is decent.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. Overall, the sound was a bit flat and lifeless.

    Dialogue was a bit difficult to understand at times, but not too bad and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by John Altman is very good, adding nicely to the film. It sounds quite reasonable in this transfer.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu was still and silent allowing for scene access.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie is available in Region 1 under the title Fidel. The differences are as follows:

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis you may as well call it a draw unless you need subtitles.

Summary

    An interesting made for television biopic about the life of Fidel Castro.

    The video quality is average.

    The audio quality is decent.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, April 14, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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