News Brief

HBO to Premiere Documentaries on Contemporary Cuba

A pair of documentaries on contemporary Cuba will premiere on HBO just three days after the death of Fidel Castro.

By now, you probably know that Cuba’s longtime revolutionary and former president, Fidel Castro, died Friday at the age of 90. As the world begins to contemplate the life and legacy of this extremely divisive, extremely complex individual, it seems HBO was one step ahead of everyone else. The American television network, rather coincidentally, has a full night of Cuban programming planned for this Monday with the premiere of two original documentaries centered around contemporary Cuba.


The first of the two films is Patria O Muerte: Cuba, Fatherland or Death, which looks at the current state of Cuba through the eyes of its artists, activists, bloggers, writers, musicians and everyday people. The 57-minute documentary marks a directorial debut for Spanish actress-turned-director Olatz López Garmendia.

“Forgoing the usual emphases on salsa clubs, dominoes, headstrong women and broken-down American jalopies, the film takes a sharply critical look at day-to-day life in Cuba today,” Remezcla’s Steve Macfarlane said of the film, adding that Garmendia “defies precedent for critiquing the island nation’s lack of public freedoms without denouncing the Castros (or, indeed, communism) outright as the devil incarnate.”

The second of the two documentaries is Jon Alpert's Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution, which looks at Cuba’s LGBT community through the work of Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raúl Castro (and niece of Fidel Castro), as she champions LGBT equality and social reforms in present-day Cuba.

The documentaries premiere on HBO this Monday, November 28th, beginning at 8pm EST with Patria O Muerte: Cuba, Fatherland or Death, followed at 9pm EST with Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution. Both films will be available to watch on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.

H/T Shadow & Act

News Brief
Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns (via Getty Images)

New Fela Kuti Reissues & Box Set Are Coming This Year

Partisan Records has shared initial news of upcoming Fela 50th anniversary reissues and a new box set on the way.

Fela Kuti fans have a lot to look forward to this year as Partisan Records (home to Fela's catalog) has announced plans to release special reissues of two 1971 albums: London Scene and Live! With Ginger Baker, the classic album in which Fela and his band Africa '70 where joined by the Cream drummer.

The label has also said they plan to release the fifth installment in their ongoing Fela vinyl reissue box set series, which are handpicked by notable names in the music world. Previous volumes have been curated by Erykah Badu, Questlove, and Brian Eno.

Partisan has also shared that they will also be launching a scholarship program at Fela's alma mater, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in London this year. The label will be sharing more information on all of that exciting Fela Kuti 2021 news soon, so keep and eye out.

In the meantime, Fela Kuti is currently leading the fan vote for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You can head here to cast a daily ballot for the afrobeat legend. Voting is capped at one ballot per day.

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