Thursday, June 06, 2013

"My Little Assassin": a rather tame account of an attempt on Fidel Castro's Life

My Little Assassin” was a popular waitlisted film on Netflx, with a long wait list, and has attracted attention recently in conjunction with other movies (Andy Garcia’s “The Lost  City” comes to mind).  The film , directed by Jack Bender, was originally made in somewhat tame fashion for Lifetime TV in 1999, and is distributed by Xenon.  The DVD is full screen, which limits its visual impact.
In 1981, Martiz Lorenz checks into a Havana hotel, and then in a flashback (almost the entire movie, with Gacbrielle Anwar) recalls her affair with Fidel Castro in the early 1960s, when she carried his child, which was aborted at birth in what amounts to infanticide.  This is indeed a mild movie for conservatives.

Her parents, especially her mother, were patriots.  The film has conversations about loyalty for its own sake.  There is also some of the tired left-wing rhetoric from Castro (Joe Mantegna), to the effect that rich people who live off the backs of the labor of others are personal criminals who ought to have their wealth confiscated and expropriated.  I used to hear this rhetoric in the early 1970s from the People’s Party of New Jersey.

In time, Maritz would be talked into a plot to kill Fidel, after she is angered by the murder of her baby. The plan was to use botulism.  Curiously, in my own early novel "The Proles", there is a poisoning incident on a college campus using botulism.  It occurs less frequently in spy situations than ricin or polonium.  
There is almost nothing about this film on YouTube, but there is a 44 minute film on YouTube a 44 minute long short “Fidel Castro: A Life of Revolution” from “Konscious TV”.

I’m not sure what explains the popularity of the Bender film for rental, other than controversy over Gunataaomo. Perhaps the film attracted notice after the commemoration of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961..  
This may be a good place to mention the 2004 Fine Line film “Before Night Falls”, by Julian Schnabel, based on the life of Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas (Xavier Barem) who is falsely accused of pedophilia in Cuba but escapes, to die eventually of AIDS in the US in the late 1980s.    

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