Salut les Cubains

A photo montage of Cubans filmed by Agnes Varda during her visit to Cuba in 1963. The film explores Cuban society and culture post-revolution.


Jean-André Fieschi & Claude Olivier: Salut les Cubains is neither a commissioned work nor a work of transition. It’s just a film you enjoyed doing?

Agnès Varda: That’s right. It’s an homage to Cuba. I was invited there by the I.C.A., the Cuban Film Institute. I brought a Leica, some film, and a tripod since I had this project in the back of my mind. I really found the Cubans extraordinary and the form of their socialism surprising and joyful. They are the only Latin socialists. When I’m in Moscow I feel like I belong to another race from the Soviets. I have to work to understand them. In Cuba things were easier. I felt like I was Cuban and could understand. And then I laughed a lot. The folklore of their revolution, the rhythm of life, the heat... I brought back over four thousand photos and spent six months editing about fifteen hundred of them but it was worth it: in Cuba they say that it has the “sapor” (flavor) of a Cuban film. And for them, to get the flavor of something is to be Cuban. They do programs with my films and call them “Salut Agnès” (“Hello, Agnès!”).1

  • 1. Jean-André Fieschi & Claude Olivier “A Secular Grace: Agnès Varda”, Cahiers du cinéma, 165 (April 1965). Reprinted in T. Jefferson Kline, Agnès Varda: Interviews Conversations with Filmmakers Series, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014), 31. Translated by T. Jefferson Kline.