Sugar is a substance that has played a great part in the subjugation and enslavement of numerous peoples located and relocated in the Caribbean as a whole. In our world of refinement and packaged foods it is easy to forget how much work goes into producing sugar and what the costs are on a human level.
The film, Soy Cuba, Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov (with Sergio Corrieri, Salvador Wood, José Gallardo), was popularized by Martin Scorsese’s campaign to restore the movie in the early 1990s. It paints a realistic picture of Cuba’s version of this pan-Caribbean issue.
In Sugar work, you are presented with a table divided in two by sugar canes. On one side you find a silver tray on sugar , which you are instructed to taste with a silver spoon. As you lift the spoon, a black and white projection hits the sugar. It is the scene from Soy Cuba, where the laborer burns down the sugar cane plantation after years of exploitation. As you taste the sugar you realize the the sugar is tainted with salt.
On the other side of the table, you are given a machete and instructed to pull sugar from the raw cane, a task that may prove to be very difficult on cumbersome for the audience members.