The Big Cigar

by Christos Zabounis

To a cigar smoker the title of Apple Tv’s new TV series is at least tantalizing, in the… tantalizing sense. But watching it, one will be partially disappointed, because the only connection to the luscious cigars of Havana is a code to escape the leader of the Black Panthers, Huey P. Newton, to Cuba. The case is based on real events, and its adaptation to the TV screen was based on an article written in 2012 in “Playboy” magazine. It took an entire decade for its production to be approved by the leading streaming platform, and the reason is simple. The theme is a bit of a no-no. How to show the action of a revolutionary organization that directly threatened the order and security of the United States, combined with the catastrophic failure of the F.B.I. arrest one of its founders? The answer is also simple: Hollywood. As incredible as it may seem, the creator of “Easy Rider” and son of the president of Columbia Pictures, Bert Schneider, alongwith his partner, undertake the escape of the wanted man. For four weeks they will use every means, cars, ships, planes, to save their new friend. Their coverage is brilliant. The filming of a movie called “The Big Cigar”. For six episodes, we will follow the protagonists in a chase that meets Hollywood standards, but leaves us with a taste of unsatisfiedness and several unanswered questions. There are indeed good white people who care about their fellow oppressed people, but why do they help them? Out of guilt? Out of altruism? Or, even worse, to do their job? In this particular case, movies?