Boxing has held a special place of honor in Cuban society since the Revolution. In the past seven Olympic Games the tiny island nation with a population of 11 million people has dominated the sport of boxing: 32 medals, 26 gold. Now, as Castro's faltering health has thrown the future into question, a foreign film crew has been granted access for the first time ever to one of the state's legendary institutions-the Havana Boxing Academy on the outskirts of Cuba's capital. There, from the tender age of nine, boys hand-picked as future Olympians are molded into soldiers of the ring. They live and train at the Academy with a single purpose: to bring home Olympic Gold. The film reveals the Academy as a microcosm of Cuban society. The boys, it becomes clear, fight for Cuba, for Castro. Victory is not just their hope. It is their duty.
Young Cuban boxer Christian Martinez and his coach, Yosvani Borachea.
Photo: Domingo Triana/(c) Windfall Films Ltd
Director Andrew Lang has produced and directed several films in Cuba and Chile, including Do(n) Mayor - an intimate portrait of a Cuban lute maker and his son - and The Gringo Diaries, in which British students uncover the horrors of Chile's past.
WIDE ANGLE continues Its Sixth Season On PBS.
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Detailed schedule information:
Victory is Your Duty premieres Tuesday, July 10 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).