BY MARIE SANZ
HAVANA -- A documentary on Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution
screened without fanfare in Cuba.
For the first time Cubans can see their president swimming, followed
six bodyguards, in turquoise waters off a Cuban beach, visiting his childhood
home, or meditating at the grave of his parents.
Fidel: 40 Years of the Cuban Revolution and its Leader is the
work of Estela
Bravo, a U.S. filmmaker who lives part time in Cuba.
In production five years, the Castro documentary was first presented
in Cuba in
December during a festival of Latin American film in Havana. This week it is to
inaugurate the first national documentary festival in Santiago de Cuba.
The film draws a flattering portrait of the Cuban president based
from his older brother Ramon, admiring testimonials from teachers at the Jesuit
school he attended, and comrades from his guerrilla days in the Sierra Maestra.
Also interviewed were friends such as writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, South
Africa's former president Nelson Mandela, and Danielle Mitterrand, widow of
former French president Francois Mitterrand.
The film shows Castro meeting with the pope and the king of Spain
in Havana and Harlem. It also captures rare private moments of the Cuban leader.
Two short phrases in the film allude to his personal life. ``Cubans
very little about the personal life of Fidel,'' says the narrator, then: ``Rumor has it
that he has seven children and has been married for almost 30 years.''
The few images of his private life date from before the revolution,
photographs of his 1948 wedding to Mirta Diaz Balart, whom he divorced two
years later, and 1960s footage in which Castro, accompanied by his son Fidelito,
is responding in English to questions from a U.S. journalist.
Copyright 2000 Miami Herald