Screening Room: ‘Elian’

In 1999, a five-year-old Cuban boy was plucked from the waters off Florida. The story that followed was part international incident, part domestic political soap opera, and all spectacle.

CNN’s ‘Elian’ documentary is opening this week in limited release. My review is at Film Journal International:

[The 1990s] saw the 24/7 news cycle roar to life in spectacularly messy fashion through round-the-clock coverage of everything from the O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey cases to the siege in Waco, Texas. Like those other media tsunami, the Elián Gonzalez case stormed in from nowhere, tore everything to pieces, and was gone before anybody knew what had happened. It started with a five-year-old boy found clinging to an innertube off the coast of Florida and ended with federal agents storming into a Little Havana house, assault rifles at the ready. Tim Golden and Ross McDonnell’s Elián tells the stranger-than-fiction story of what happened not just in between but afterward…

Here’s the trailer:

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