Here Are Some Movies And TV Shows On Netflix Featuring Cubans
So, you know how the Cuban government closely monitors and controls all media in the country? There are only five communist channels, and internet is extremely limited and closely monitored. That means that there are very few glimpses into life on the island available for public consumption.
Netflix happens to be streaming documentaries on the ground in Cuba, Shows featuring Cubanos, and feature-length films about some of the most famous people to come out of Cuba. Here’s what you should do with your weekend.
1. The Godfather: Part II
Let’s start with the most iconic film to star a Cuban actor: Andy García. García was born in Havana to an English teacher and attorny/avocado farmer. The family moved to Miami after the Bay of Pigs. Fun fact? García wanted to become a basketball player until he came down with mono and decided to become an actor.
2. Cuba and the Cameraman
Cameraman Jon Alpert spent 45 years traveling to Cuba and documenting it’s progress and change through his lens. He follows three families over the course of decades and it’s “as clear and wide a window [into Cuba] as you’re likely ever to find,” according to David Ehrlich.
3. 3 Days in Havana
Fair warning: this is a Canadian film, but it actually was set in Cuba. The main star is a Canadian businessman who gets involved in an assassination plot after befriending another white guy in Cuba. Cuban visibility really needs work in the entertainment industry, but this list gets better.
4. Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown
Season 6, Episode 1 takes place in Cuba’s fishermen towns, Havana, and Santiago. He takes a deeper dive into the food culture, which was once scarce, and now beginning to boom. He eats at a (what, once, would have been banned) sushi restaurant in a fishermen’s town, and tells the restaurant owners that they’re about to become millionaires. I’d really like to help with that. ?
Based on the real life of Celia Cruz, this TV series depicts what it might have been like to be the 1950s young, black singer in a Cuba that is entrenched in sexism, racism and dark political times. Need to feel inspired? This is for you.
6. Bring it On: Fight to the Finish
Played by mitad Cubana Christina Milian, Lina Cruz transfers from East L.A. to Malibu Vista High School after her mom remarries. Watch her take over “The Sea Lions” (worst cheerleading team name ever, right?), and navigate as an out of place POC in a snobby school. Spoiler: she’s the whoop-ass that climbs to the top. IDC what you think about Bring it On movies, you’ll be cheering for her.
Rosario Dawson is half Afro-Cuban and is owning the Netflix screen. She plays the love interest and life-saving nurse in Netflix’s Original Daredevil TV series, and is often the thread throughout the Marvel series. Rep it up, Rosario!
We can’t talk about Rosario without mentioning her incredible performance in the musical film Rent. She plays Mimi Marquez, an HIV-positive heroin addict and stripper, and love interest. I remember rewatching this movie over and over again, and obsessing over her as a kid. She f*cking slays.
9. Jane the Virgin
CREDIT: @lezwatchtv / Twitter
Ok, I’ll be done gushing about Rosario after this one, but c’mon, if you haven’t seen Jane the Virgin, the first American telenovela featuring (almost) all Latino characters, ? get ? on ? it.
10. Four Seasons in Havana
Want to watch a movie set in Cuba, but need a hit of some crime drama? Follow detective Mario Conde as he investigates Havana’s crimes throughout the course of the year.
Did you know Cameron Díaz’s father is Cuban? Yup, she’s one of those blue-eyed, blonde Cubans, and she’s one of the highest-grossing U.S. box office actresses in the country. She’s since retired to publish a couple books, but you can still stream her on Netflix!
12. One Day at a Time
This reboot of the original show features a modern day Cuban-American family, the politics around undocumentation, sexuality, and what it’s like to be a single mother. This one is a must-see.
13. Papa: Hemingway in Cuba
Set during the Cuban Revolution, we watch a young journalist travel to Havana in his quest to meet Ernest Hemingway. P.S.-this is a true story, if that makes you feel any better about another movie where Cubans are just the backdrop. But at least it’s set in Cuba!
CREDIT: Netflix scarface
This iconic film about Cuban refugee Tony Montana, who becomes the drug kingpin of Miami has raised a lot of criticisms from expatriates. I mean, the film is incredibly violent and portrays Cubans as criminals and drug traffickers. What do you think? Comment below!
15. The Office
Oscar Nuñéz was born in Havana, and his parents were actually classmates with Fidel Castro at the University of Havana. He went to Parsons School of Design for writing, and became a certified dental technician before breaking out in comedy.
He plays Mexican character, Oscar Martinez, and endures some very cringe-worthy moments in the show. If you’re here for the cringe, come through for Oscar.
16. The Place Beyond the Pines
Born in Miami to Cuban parents, Eva de la Caridad Méndez (aka Eva Mendes), stars as the love interest in this film alongside Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. She was the first POC to star as a love interest from her performance in Hitch. TY for pioneering for all of us, Eva.
17. You Get Me
Bella Thorne’s father was Cuban, who died young. She started working as a child actor to help support the family, and has since made it to the big screen. In this Netflix Original, she plays Holly, an unwell girl who becomes obsessed with a one night stand and goes to great lengths to keep their ‘romance’ alive.
18. Cuba: The Forgotten Revolution
This historical documentary takes a deep dive into the lives of revolutionaries Frank País and José Antonio Echeverría and their role in the overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. You’ll also see Rita Moreno help narrate!
19. El Che
This is the story of a Spanish-Mexican writer, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, and his journey to trace the footsteps of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the inspiration for the Cuban Revolution.
20. The Cuba Libre Story
A Netflix Original, this documentary recounts the tumultuous history of Cuba, dating back to its Spanish conquest, the effects it had on its native peoples, the freedom fighters and Cold War political ploys from the top-level government. This is a TV series, with just one season from 2015, so keep watching to get the next season signed!