Reviewed by Alicia Glass
The story of the files kept on suspected “government subversives” by the Puerto Rico police department in the late 1980’s and how they affected the lives of the people, then and now.
Frankly, I was disappointed. I read the synopsis of the film in the program guide and thought ooh, that could be interesting. Thinking it would be a retelling of the tumultuous time with a bunch of young revolutionary communists, threatening bombs and general mayhem in and around Cuba and Puerto Rico. This is not what we get at all. Instead we have several considerably older key figures from this time period, being followed around in the present by the filmmaker as a kind of I-Spy remake, as she reports on these elders walking their dogs and going to work or the market. Each figure tells many stories of their time as Communist revolutionaries, radical young folk with plans and ambitions who refused to be quiet even when threatened, deported, or beaten by the police. There is a review with a former policeman as well, but the filmmaker does his review in fits and starts, as though to highlight the fact that while the former policeman is telling the truth, he is certainly not proud of it. Each key figure proudly displays their File, announcing the fact that every Citizen has the right to view their File and get it back to their keeping if they want it. Very little is explained from the outset about the apparent Cuban communist revolution, why these people were rebelling, and what led to this mess in the first place. The story of the rebellion itself and the Files on these people is what the film focuses on, without any real context, and gets kind of irritating. It is a shame of course that the Puerto Rican police and the FBI felt that they could get away with this kind of subversive behavior themselves, but it could have been presented in a much more dramatical and pronounced way, rather than this flat documentary style.