For those of you attending on Wednesday I've put together some optional readings with divergent view-points on the film for you to peruse.
The most scholarly resource on the film's context is this article on state sexual policing and the maintenance of revolutionary masculinity during and after the Cuban revolution: http://ow.ly/d/FCl (check out the caricature on p. 19.).
All this considered, Schnabel's film is obviously critical of Castro's regime. And of course, not everyone has been happy with his portrayal of the Cuban revolution: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2001/jun/12/artsfeatures. At their most extreme, these critics(the loudest are highly partisan) call into question the veracity of a film that is itself based on an admittedly fictionalized autobiography. They even seem to imply that Schnabel is "right-wing" for critiquing the revolution: http://ow.ly/bFcPe.
However biased these critiques might be, their views nonetheless provide an interesting entree into the cross-hairs of political and queer alignments. While the film itself provides another of how the "left" has not always aligned itself with queer social causes, today, we might equally say that queer social causes are less certain to be in perfect alliance with the left. On the opposite side of the garden-variety-progressive spectrum, you have groups like the log cabin republicans, whom, despite owing much of their present-day freedoms to the social activism of the New Left, seek nonetheless to detach themselves from this legacy, turning towards libertarian principles of both sexual and economic "laissez-faire." http://www.logcabin.org/site/c.nsKSL7PMLpF/b.5468093/k.BE4C/Home.htm
See you on Wednesday,