a documentary film : ON THE ROAD: CUBA WITHOUT FIDEL
Director : Léa Viktoria, Frédéric Vassort & Daniel Leconte
Length : 90'
Year : 2013
Producer : Daniel Leconte


Of Cuba, we often only show its capital city, Havana, or its folklore. As the country’s general elections are heating up, this film, in the shape of a road movie, will allow us to travel across the island. A journey made at a key moment, as the debate surrounding post-Castro Cuba is more prevalent than ever before; Raul Castro himself has declared, “The country must change to avoid sinking.” It has indeed been a year since Cubans started being able to work for their own bread. Another proof of the “revolution” prompted by Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother and heir to his throne, is enabling his fellow citizens to legally acquire and sell their homes or even their vehicles. What impact does that hold upon the daily lives of Cubans? From Santiago de Cuba, the nation’s second most important city and starting point to its “revolutionary pathway”, we’ll be meeting a hairdresser who has just began working independently, a state-employed single mother from a backwoods town in the mountains who is struggling to make ends meet, a former administration executive who left his job to try his hand at agriculture, and even a priest whose celebration of the Virgin Mary equals that of the nation’s flag. Our journey across the sugarcane fields towards the nation’s capital will help understand the inner workings of a worn-out socialist system desperately attempting to jam its unavoidable decline, at least economically, by visiting a factory that has long been shut down and whose reopening is awaited like the Messiah. Our narrative will also include striking videos recorded by dissidents as well as archival footage. Beyond the revolutionary fables, what of the school and health systems still considered brands of the regime? What are a 20-year-old’s dreams made up of in Cuba? From a former barracks converted into a school, to the hospitals’ interiors, the film demonstrates the gap between reality and bygone revolutionary fantasies. As we go through shops, marketplaces, we witness firsthand the Kafkaesque effects of the dual currency system the Cubans must deal with to satisfy their most basic needs. And all along our journey, as we also decipher what went on behind the scenes of the shoot, what with our local guide who was as much an assistant as he was a censor, we draw as close as possible to the complex reality of a political system clinging to its last breath… Our road movie broadens its reach through the interviews led by Daniel Leconte with important political figures, intellectuals such as the Eduardo Manet, or even the Cuban journalist Julio Cesar Galvez Rodriguez. 


See extracts of the film: (French version)