4 items from 2017
Each month, the fine folks at FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection spend countless hours crafting their channels to highlight the many different types of films that they have in their streaming library. This August will feature an exciting assortment of films, as noted below.
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Tuesday, August 1
Tuesday’s Short + Feature: These Boots and Mystery Train
Music is at the heart of this program, which pairs a zany music video by Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki with a tune-filled career highlight from American independent-film pioneer Jim Jarmusch. In the 1993 These Boots, Kaurismäki’s band of pompadoured “Finnish Elvis” rockers, the Leningrad Cowboys, cover a Nancy Sinatra classic in their signature deadpan style. It’s the perfect prelude to Jarmusch’s 1989 Mystery Train, a homage to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the musical legacy of Memphis, featuring appearances by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer. »
- Ryan Gallagher
It’s been 20 years since the Buena Vista Social Club album made Cuban music a crossover sensation in the U.S. (for the first time since the ’50s), and 18 years since Wim Wenders’ documentary of the same title played in theaters. What’s become of the gifted musicians who found renewed or belated fame and fortune as a result of those projects? Buena Vista Social Club: Adios seeks to fill in the gap, but this sequel’s subtitle is all too literal. Many of the group’s most prominent figures were already quite elderly two decades ago. Sadly, the answer to the question “Where are they now?” tends to be “dead.” Nor did they pass away recently, after taking part in the new movie. Tres player Compay Segundo and pianist Rubén González, for example, both died back in 2003. Vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer died in 2005. Adios serves as »
- Mike D'Angelo
Recognition is a funny and fickle thing. This is especially true in art, where often one’s accomplishments aren’t recognized until after the artist is dead. We live under a collective myth that simply creating something of quality is enough, even though it’s plain that it’s almost never that simple. Attention is hard to corral, and there’s simply far too much going on for many incredible things to be noticed. Talent, skill, and hard work matter of course, but you also need a lot of luck.
The musicians that Ry Cooder found in Cuba were long forgotten. Many of them had been stars in the 40s and 50s, but most were now languishing in poverty. More than that, they were no longer able to make their art. The records they made together, along with this film, gave quite a few of them the best years of their lives. »
- Arik Devens
Cuba has just been opened up to Americans, but twenty years ago musician Ry Cooder saw to it that a vanishing music tradition was preserved for posterity. Wim Wenders followed up with this rough & ready documentary that became almost as popular as the best selling album of mambos, boleros and cha-chas.
The Criterion Collection 866
1999 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 105 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date April 18, 2017 / 39.95
Starring: Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa, Ry Cooder, Joachim Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Rubén González, Orlando ‘Cachaíto’ López, Amadito Valdés, Manuel ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal, Barbarito Torres, Pío Leyva, Manuel ‘Puntillita’ Licea, Juan de Marcos González.
Cinematography: Jörg Widmer
Film Editor: Brian Johnson
Produced by Deepak Nayar
Directed by Wim Wenders
Looking for something new and invigorating, in the late 1980s Paul Simon collaborated with South African vocalists for a refreshing pop hybrid album »
- Glenn Erickson
4 items from 2017
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