Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.
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A group of legendary Cuban musicians, some as old as their nineties, were brought together by Ry Cooder to record a CD. In this film, we see and hear some of the songs being recorded in Havana. There is also footage from concerts in Amsterdam and New York City's Carnegie Hall. In addition, many of the individual musicians talk about their lives in Cuba and about how they got started in music. Written by
George S. Davis
The Buena Vista Social Club album was put together by guitarist Ry Cooder in 1997 as a means of recapturing the "lost" music of pre-revolutionary Havana. The story was later made into this movie. See more »
Besides the sones, guarachas and boleros (basic styles of good-old Cuban music), the beauty of this documentary relies on Wim Wenders' magnificent camera use.
It is impossible not to feel the emotion of the crowded Carnegie Hall in the climax scenes, but there are also many other images that carry the viewer to more intimate experiences of La Habana, its music and musicians. Wenders' camera takes us to the Conservatory, where pianist Ruben Gonzalez rehearses surrounded by children; or to the Egrem Recording Studio, where singers Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo look at each other's eyes while rendering one of the most beautiful boleros I've heard in my life.
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