Boxing is massive in Cuba and they are pretty good at it. They tend to dominate the amateur game by regular winning heavily at World Championships and the Olympic Games. Sons of Cuba is a new documentary following a group of nine-year-old boys in a Havana boxing academy as they train to compete for Cuba’s National Boxing Championship for under 12’s. The film offers a unique and rare insight into Cuba, the world of boxing and it’s importance to the country and the people.
There are several aspects to this film. As it take place in 2008 when Fidel Castro was taken ill and disappeared from public appearances and later resigned as president, we get an insight into how big a figure he remains in the eye of the Cuban people. The boys in the academy appear to be genuinely saddened by the news and their concern and admiration for the man are clear to see. In this respect the film offers a unique look into a country, a system of government and way of living that is rapidly disappearing and in the case of Cuba may soon be gone altogether. The film also does not shy away from displaying how underfunded and poor the country is. This can be seen by where the boys live (both in the academy and their family homes) and in the limited resources they have to train with (they literally use car tires for punch bags!). In this respect the film stands out as almost a historical document chronicling the end a significant chapter of Cuban and world history.
But what is more effecting and moving in Sons Of Cuba is the personal stories of the boys in the academy, their relationships with their coach, their parents and each other. The film honestly portrays the huge amounts of pressure and sacrifice these boys have to make; yet also it shows their determinedness to succeed and their willingness to achieve their goals displaying all the tears and laughter along the way. Through this honest approach the power of these emotions (and perhaps more significantly the intensity of the relationships) resonates through the screen. The coach’s love (and tough training) for his pupils, the concern and worry of the boys mothers and the former boxing champion father who attends his son’s championship fight, are all stories that take the film to another emotional level and therefore make it more a than just historical document of a country and time.
The fact that these events and emotions are so similar and relatable to stories from a more ‘westernized’ culture, yet they are from a country that is so often perceived as somewhat of an enigma in the sense of the world is perhaps what hits hard the most.
Sons Of Cuba is showing ONLY TWICE at the Duke of York’s
Tues 13th July – 1:30pm
Thurs 15th July – 6:15pm
To book tickets and for more info go HERE