Everyone loves the thrill of spy stories with their missions, fake identities and subterfuge. Nestled 90 miles off the coast of America, Cuba became ripe for this. Havana was in the words of one contributor, “like Las Vegas. It had a lot of casinos, nightclubs, prostitution and it was all controlled by the American mafia.” The inequality led to Fidel Castro’s revolution of 1959. And the most seismic of faultlines during the Cold War.
‘Are you a Cuban Security Officer? Are you a Communist?’ These were the questions being asked on In silence it had to be done, a hit Cuban 1970s TV show about a Cuban infiltrating the CIA. It came to pass in the 1990s when an elite group of intelligence agents were sent undercover to serve the cause.
Aslin and Lennon craft an engaging story of the personal and political. Leading a double life meant whilst you were a patriot for your country, you were a traitor to your family, seemingly, abandoning them with no trail of breadcrumbs. What elevates this story is the fact that the macho infused subject matter is offset by female voices representing the sense of sudden abandonment and confusion. The directors have also gained unrestricted access to the Cuban Film Institute’s archive and first-hand testimony, including with the real-life members of the Cuban Five. “Immersing ourselves in the world of a Cuban Spy cell was an exhilarating process,” said the filmmakers. Their treatment of this clandestine world also exhilarates.
Words: Michael McDermott
Directors: Ollie Aslin, Gary Lennon
Release Date: April 28