Visually, this is probably the most incredible movie I have ever seen. The shots are mindblowingly beautiful. One generally notices when the things on screen look quite pretty, but this was the first time that I have actually gasped from sheer delight. I found myself gazing intently at the screen, devoting the sort of attention to the lush visuals that one normally reserves for incredible paintings. I am so very happy to have been able to see it on the big screen, because it truly deserves nothing less.
As for content, it's also quite well done. The film is basically 4 vignettes about the people of Cuba (and their suffering). It's obviously politically motivated - the movie was made in 1964 for goddsakes - but it's not obnoxiously polemical. A lot of what the film wants to do, it does in a kind of gestural mode, by heightening the aestheticization of its treatment of the subject. What I mean by this, is that it conveys meaning in the way that a particularly powerful photograph does. The composition of the shots is absolutely epic, particularly of people's facial expressions. It's baroque - it's heightened, it's incredible. There's something really fascinating about this narrative mode - you get very few details, just the bare bones that sort of orient you in a given scene, allowing you to extrapolate motives, desires, etc. There's not much dialogue - it's more like the actors are embodying the particular mood of the character. As though someone said, "you are a sculpture depicting shame. what do you look like? go!" It's amazing.
All in all, really, a mindblowing work. Really a must-see for everyone.
As requested in comments, some stills: