Sundance Goes To Havana

U.S. film director and actor Robert Redford leaves the Cuban Institute of Film and Art Sunday, Jan. 25, 2004, in Havana, Cuba after the screening of his new film about Ernesto Che Guevara, "The Motorcycle Diaries," to the widow and children of the legendary guerrilla fighter.
Actor, director and producer Robert Redford invited the family of Ernesto "Che" Guevara to a private Sunday screening of his company's new movie about the revolutionary's early years: "The Motorcycle Diaries."

"I've come to present the movie I produced about Che," Redford said in brief comments to reporters outside a Havana theater. "I'm very happy to be here."

"The Motorcycle Diaries," directed by Brazilian Walter Salles, and featuring Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal in the lead role, tells of Guevara's travels across Latin America before joining the revolution of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Guevara's widow, Aleida March, and several of their children were seen at the screening of the movie.

Among others seen entering the theater for the screening were Ramiro Valdes, a former commander in Cuba's revolution more than 40 years ago; and Alfredo Guevara, who directs the annual New Latin American Cinema Festival.

Havana was a second stop for "The Motorcycle Diaries," which received much praise and a standing ovation Saturday, at the Sundance Film Festival that Redford hosts annually in Park City, Utah.

The portrait of the Argentine-born rebel as a young man is intended to provide insights in the early stirrings of his social conscience.

The film isn't the first time that Redford has immersed himself in the atmosphere and issues of Cuba during the revolution that put Fidel Castro in power in 1959.

In 1990, Redford starred in Sydney Pollack's "Havana" as a gambler who rolls into town in 1958 hoping to make a pot of money, falls in love, and is changed by the events he witnesses as the revolution explodes.

Redford also visited Cuba for real, in 1988, at which time - according to the New York Daily News - there were reports that he had gone scuba-diving with Castro.

Those reports earned him an interrogation by U.S. Treasury agents upon his return.